Popular Nba Star
Hill was selected by the Detroit Pistons as the third overall pick of the 1994 NBA draft, signing an eight-year contract worth $45 million. He also signed a lucrative endorsement deal with Fila. Originally contracting with Fila for $6 million a year, in 1997 Hill resigned with the athletic wear company for $80 million over seven years. During his rookie season Hill averaged 19.9 points and 5.0 assists per game. Always a crowd favorite, he became the first rookie ever to lead the league in voting for All-Star Game, and he was named the 1995 co-Rookie of the Year, with Jason Kidd, and to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. During the 1995-96 season Hill continued to post excellent numbers and once again led all players in votes for the All-Star Game.
Over the next several seasons, Hill continued to lead the Pistons. Although the team was not competitive in the postseason, Hill earned a reputation as one of the most athletically gifted players in the NBA. Because he didn't drink, smoke, party, use excessive foul language, or cause trouble on or off the court, he was also living up to his reputation as the ultimate NBA "good guy." During a time when the media was raving against the numerous incidents of bad behavior by players in and out of uniform, Hill's good manners and self-effacing attitude was a breath of fresh air for the NBA's image.
The 1997-98 season proved challenging for Hill, who struggled with the team's poor record, 37-45, and the controversial firing of Piston coach Doug Collins. During the 1999 player lockout Hill was criticized by other players for not taking a strong enough stand in favor of the NBA players' union. Despite the feeling the pressure of his position as leader of a losing team, Hill continued to play well, scoring more 21 points per game in both the 1997-98 and 1998-1999 seasons. During the 1999-2000 season the Pistons made it into the playoffs, with Hill averaging a career-high 25.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game.