Phoenix Suns small forward Grant Hill logged 44 minutes in last night’s triple-overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, with the lion’s share of those minutes spent chasing Kobe Bryant around the floor of the Staples Center. Less than 24 hours later, the 15-year vet will be called upon to play another 30-plus minutes as the Suns host the Toronto Raptors tonight, March 23, in Phoenix.
Last night’s overtime thriller ended at 10:40 p.m. PT, meaning Hill and the Suns probably landed in Phoenix after 3 a.m. The daily grind of the NBA comes full circle approximately eight hours later at 11 a.m., when the Suns assemble at their practice facility.
So how does the 38-year-old Hill keep the spring in his step for back-to-back games? The answer is not more sleep, à la sleeping in late, but rather rising at his normal early morning hour, between 7:30 and 8 a.m. This allows him to consume more meals in the day, adding sufficient fuel to the keep the competitive fire burning.
In his early years, Hill would snooze right up until team meetings. The extra few hours of rest were nice, but he missed out on breakfast and got only two meals in before tip-off. “I didn’t feel like that was enough food, especially after coming off a game the night before,” Hill recently told suns.com. “Now, I’m eating three meals a day, because I felt like I needed to up my caloric intake.”
Hill maximizes his time after breakfast by going for a walk or light jog, depending on how his body is feeling. He might mix in a light swim. After team meetings, it’s back home [or to the team hotel] for a two-hour nap. [Read our post on game-day napping.] “I’m trying to make it as normal of a routine as it is on a regular day,” Hill said.
The routine has been golden for the once oft-injured Hill, who in the prime of his career in Orlando played in just 47 games over three seasons. Over the past three seasons, he's turned it around, missing just one game during that span. His minutes and points per game averages are up from the past two seasons, as well.
The seven-time All-Star made a commitment to eating better. In the following video, Hill educates on the importance of nutrition during the season.