FILA Footwear Offered Grant Hill $80M After Nike ‘Kind Of Lowballed’ Him
With the news of Kevin Durant becoming the third NBA player in Nike history to be given a lifetime contract, behind Micheal Jordan and LeBron James, another former professional basketball player shared about the time he signed a lifetime contract with a competing brand.
According to AfroTech, during an exclusive interview with The Players’ Tribune‘s podcast, “Knuckleheads,” former NBA player Grant Hill discussed why he went to Fila to sign a lucrative deal after Nike “kind of lowballed” an offer to him to be a part of the sneaker giant’s team.
Several months ago, Hill appeared with former NBA players-turned-podcasters Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles and expressed his reason for going with Fila instead of Nike during his playing days. In the early 90s, Hill was partially responsible for helping the brand become relevant..
Hill told the hosts the company was courting him, specifically Nike owner Phil Knight.
“He wanted to have me at the Great Wall of China via satellite for the NBA Draft,” Hill said. “And so all my people were like, ‘That’s a great idea.’ And I’m thinking, ‘I want that moment with Commissioner Stern.”
When the contract negotiation took place, a roadblock developed, and Hill said he was “kind of lowballed” by Nike. After getting advice from his father to check out Fila, the grass was greener on the other side!
“They had a couple sheets of paper at the conference room,” he said. “I turned to that second page and the money? I was like, ‘You know I can wear some Fila.'”
Hill ended up signing his lifetime deal with Fila in 2018. ESPN reported that his retro sneakers would be rereleased, and other editions and remixes were included in that deal.
“Fila was there for my first professional steps on the court,” Hill said at the time. “We have now come full circle, and I am thrilled to be a part of the family once again.”
Hill and Fila began their relationship in 1994. In 1997, the Atlanta Hawks co-owner inked a seven-year, $80 million contract with the company. Then in 2018, the lifetime contract was signed.