by Marcel Mutoni@marcel_mutoni

This isn’t Grant Hill’s first labor rodeo, and even though he’s kept his distance from the boardroom battles, the veteran forward says the painful process of hammering out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement isn’t necessarily an entirely negative experience.

According to Hill, just like in 1998-’99, there are important lessons here to learn for the players in their latest fight against NBA team owners. Lockout or no lockout.

From Yahoo! Sports:

After the ['98-'99 season] was shortened from 82 to 50 games, Hill lost a big chunk of the $6.6 million he was scheduled to make that season. With the NBA now on the verge of entering another lockout – the current collective bargaining agreement expires Thursday – Hill has no regrets about the players’ last extended labor battle.

“It’s always worth it. I think you learn a lot,” Hill said. “…I think it’s worth it. I think the game recovered. The game is in great shape now … I think both sides are very smart and understand sort of what’s at stake,” Hill said. “But I’m confident they will figure out what’s best for the game.”

“You hear a lockout and you don’t know what that means,” Hill said. “I think we are all sort of conditioned right when Labor Day and October and November roll around, you start playing. And all of the sudden you’re not. You want to stay in shape. You want to stay mentally and physically ready. You want to be wise with purchases and you want to make sure financially you can weather the storm. The young guys have been really good in terms of asking [questions].”

These labor disputes between billionaire team owners and millionaire players will always exist.

What remains to be seen is if Grant Hill is right, if any of the sides learned from the painful and damaging lessons of the past.