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Grant Hill Reveals Why He Didn't Sign An Endorsement Deal With Nike: "He Wanted To Have Me At The Great Wall Of China Via Satellite For The NBA Draft"

By Aikansh Chaudhary,

2023-03-14

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Grant Hill explained why he picked Fila over Nike for signing an endorsement deal.

Credit: Fadeaway World

Getting an endorsement deal from Nike is a dream for every player in the NBA. After all, the sneaker brand provides so much exposure to its players on top of giving hefty contracts. But not every bright star ended up joining Nike, and former Detroit star Grant Hill was among those rare players.

Grant Hill was once touted as the next big thing in the NBA, and every sneaker brand wanted his signature on the dotted line, including Nike. However, Hill decided to join Fila instead, and in an episode of the 'Knuckleheads Podcast,' the former NBA star explained the reason behind it.

"I was Nike like all the way," Hill said. "We wore Adidas for three years at Duke and then the last year, we wore Nike's. I went out to Beverton and did the whole thing really before the draft. I remember sitting with Phil Knight - this speaks to his vision for the future, but he was talking about the far East and talking about going over to China in the far East and those countries and expanding and growing the game and growing Nike in those markets. He was saying you and how you comport yourself like you would really resonate."

Hill continued talking about Phil Knight's vision. But in that vision, he wanted to make Grant Hill the face of the NBA in China.

"He wanted to have me at the Great Wall of China via satellite for the NBA Draft," Hill added. "So all my people were like, that's a great idea, and I'm thinking I want that moment with commissioner Stern. But it was all Nike, the negotiations got kind of screwed up, they kind of lowballed me, and it was posturing, whatever."

At the end of the day, Hill could never reach an agreement with Nike for several reasons. He ended up joining Fila and released a great lineup of signature shoes. He explained how he signed the deal with Fila in the same video.

"Fila's headquarters were in Baltimore, my dad's from Baltimore, so he said just let's go over there and look," Hill said. "Not thinking anything of it. So we go over there, and I'm like, 'Okay, they got some nice stuff.' I'm thinking about growing up either in the country clubs, the tennis players, or the Dough Boys were Fila. Fila was kind of like aspirational in the 80s, but it wasn't looked at as a performance brand from basketball. So, I'll be real with you they had a couple of sheets of paper in the conference room, and I turned to that second page, and the money? You know I could wear some Fila."

(Starts at 48:57)

The primary reason why Hill joined Fila was due to the amount of money offered by the sneaker company. Hill didn't think twice before signing with Fila, as he was getting lowballed by Nike. But that doesn't mean Fila didn't do justice to Hill's signature shoes lineup.

To this date, NBA fans love Grant Hill's shoes under the banner of Fila, but they will always wonder what would have happened if he had joined Nike.


Grant Hill Was Touted As The Next Michael Jordan

When Michael Jordan abruptly retired from the NBA in 1994, the league was in search of the next face of the league. Many believed Grant Hill had the potential to become the next Michael Jordan.

Prior to all the injuries, Hill was certainly a great player, but he could never reach the level of MJ. In fact, Hill even talked about the pressure of being looked upon as the next Michael Jordan during his rookie season .

As for Jordan, he gave a befitting reply to the media for labeling Hill as better than him by dropping 53 points against Hill the next time they played . At the end of the day, there can only be one GOAT, and for most of the fans, it's Michael Jordan.

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