January 27, 2011 at 1:00 am

Terry Foster: NBA Insider

Grant Hill amazing himself with longevity at 38

Grant Hill is 38 and hes still a starter in the NBA and a productive member of the Suns. Hes averaging 14.7 points and 4.9 rebounds for a team that is rebuilding. (Associated Press)

Grant Hill used to make jokes at the expense of teammate Joe Dumars, then 34 years old.

Hill was nearly 25 at the time, and couldn't believe Dumars was still hanging in there as an NBA player.

Now, Hill is 38 and he'sstill a starter in the NBA and a productive member of the Suns. He's averaging 14.7 points and 4.9 rebounds for a team that is rebuilding.

But, Hill said he wants to be part of Phoenix's rebuilding beyondthis season.

"I still feel like I have something to offer," Hill said. "I want to know do I still have it? Can I still be effective and is it still fun?"

If the answers to all three questions are yes, Hill will return.

And right now there are no indications they won't be.

During a recent visit to The Palace, Hill had teammates in stitches talking about his former team and some of the inside stories.

"I always joke to my mother that I got a book in me," he said.

It's amazing Hill is still in the league. He gave his body — rather his feet — to the Pistons before signing with the Magic.

And he's still going.

"I used to make fun of Joe for playing that long," Hill said. "He was like 34 or 35. You are 23 or 24 years old and the future seemed so far away. And now I am 38 and still playing, and I still have that desire to play. I never thought I would play this long."

N.J. still wants team

The Nets soon will leave New Jersey for Brooklyn, but Gov. Chris Christie plans to lobby NBA commissioner David Stern for another team.

Stern, however, is on record saying he does not believe three NBA teams in the New York area would work. But that won't stop Christie.

"Sometimes people don't say things to me that will make me unhappy," Christie told reporters in Newark. "You know how that works."

Racing zips past

NASCAR has passed the NBA for the No. 4 most popular sport in America, according to a Harris Poll released by The Sports Business Daily.

Seven percent of Americans said NASCAR is their favorite sport to watch on television.

It, however, lags behind the big three — NFL (31 percent), baseball (17 percent) and college football (12 percent).

Men's professional basketball drew just six percent.

By the numbers

18 -- Straight games lost by the Cavaliers

$89 -- All-you-can eat buffet price at Trail Blazers games

986 -- Raptors NBA record consecutive 3-point games streak that ended

NFL calling

Five would-be quarterbacks, according to an NBA player poll:

LeBron James (24 percent): Could go deep, would be tough to tackle.

Rajon Rondo (13 percent): Smart and can find receivers.

Chris Paul (9 percent): Great speed and could read defenses.

Kevin Love (7 percent): Can look over defenses, but can't scramble.

Steve Nash (7 percent): Could lead the two-minute drill in 30 seconds.

Coaching class

Five coach of the year candidates at the NBA's midway point:

Gregg Popovich, Spurs: Mingled new with old and upped the tempo.

Erik Spoelstra, Heat: Wasn't he supposed to be fired after 9-8 start?

Tom Thibodeau, Bulls: Finally gave Derrick Rose more freedom to roam.

Jerry Sloan, Jazz: Lost Carlos Boozer (free agent), but team wins.

Monty Williams, Hornets: Team buzzing under rookie's direction.

Quotable

"How many times are you going to ask me that? How many times are you going to ask me that? What about me? Guys are making shots."

-- Devin Harris, New Jersey guard, when asked if the team is playing better after pulling out of the Carmelo Anthony deal

terry.foster@detnews.com

(313) 222-1494

Gregg Popovich, who will coach the West team in the All-Star Game, has ... (Eric Gay/Associated Press)
More Terry Foster