On Wednesday night, the Magic and their fans saw the last of Grant Hill, who they didn't see much of during his star-crossed career here.
He said he'll be in the building occasionally as a spectator, a flesh-and-blood reminder of a lost era in Magic history.
"I'll be sitting over there," Hill gestured before tip-off, pointing to a courtside seat at Amway Center.
Hill gave every indication to me that he'll retire after the season, his first with the Los Angeles Clippers and 18th in the NBA.
"I'm 40 — come on," he said.
Fittingly, cruelly, in his final season, Grant has had to overcome two knee surgeries, having played just 14 games for the Clippers.
He doesn't buy the notion that his body was preserved sitting out most of his seven seasons wearing Magic colors.
"Doesn't matter. Forty is still 40," he said.
Typical Grant, though, you couldn't pry the word "retire" out of his mouth.
He just gave a long, blank look and frowned like he's losing his best friend. And he is.
Hill has been portrayed as the classy guy who has more going for him than the game — and he does. But deep down, at his core, he is — and always was — a basketball player.
Why else endure the torture he did in Orlando to stay on the floor?
He had already made millions and was touted as the Next Jordan during his days in Detroit.
"To still be battling through injuries, it's still a little something that's gratifying, still knowing you didn't give up, to keep going," Hill said.
John Gabriel was the Magic GM who acquired Hill as a free agent in 2000 (while he was on crutches). Gabriel, now scouting director with the Knicks and in attendance for the game, summed up the Hill years in two words: "Bad karma."
Grant Hill ready to retire after season
Orlando Sentinel | Feb 7