Michael Jordan had the Nikes. Larry Johnson had the Converses. Shaq had the Reeboks. Kobe had the Adidas Crazy 8s. Grant Hill had the Filas.
The former Duke star inked a deal with the Italian-Korean athletic brand soon after being selected third overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 1994 NBA Draft. The decision shook the shoe world. One of the biggest college basketball players in the country declined big boys Nike, Adidas, and Reebok in favor of a company known for high-end tennis shoes. Grant Hill sparked a footwear phenomenon.
Grant Hill's Fila Shoes
Boxy, geometric, oversized, cool -- Grant Hill's retro basketball shoes clunk up and down the court, yet, there's something stylish about their simplicity. The market seemed to have similar thoughts. Hill's debut shoe, the Grant Hill 1s, sold more than 1.5 million pairs during his rookie season. It was the highest volume moved by a first-year player since MJ premiered the Air Jordan 1's 10 years earlier. And whether or not you were wearing the big kids, women's or men's Grant Hill 1, you were a certified disruptor on and off the court.
Fila had something on their hands. The next year, they premiered the Grant Hill 2s and exploded. The athletic shoe sported thick, rich colored outlines and the indistinguishable "F" on the outsole. The white-Fila red, black-white and white-navy-red colorways make the midsole-triangular Fila logo sing. The shoe's sleek design, paired with Hill's performance on the court, raked in $135 million in sales.
Hill signed a new deal with Fila in 1997 for $80 million. Seven years after the release date of the Grant Hill III, the two parties separated due to Hill battling multiple foot and ankle injuries. The men's shoes were rebranded to the "Fila 95" and "Fila 96" in Hill's absence. They never quite disappeared from the basketball sneakers lexicon.
In 2018, the Hall of Fame inductee who made teal cool, agreed to a lifetime deal with Fila. The company plans to re-release the coveted 90s shoes because nothing sells better than nostalgia. Hill's deal includes new arrivals to his signature shoes, such as quilted and leather versions. The revamped high-top sneakers debuted at ComplexCon in November 2018. Fila.com even released a Grant Hill 2 25th Anniversary sneaker signaling the sensible sneaker champ's return to the brand.
The Fila Grant Hill line teamed up panache and basketball. They elicit desires to lace up in the 90s again, throw down a reverse dunk and flex on all the sneakerheads that showed up to the park. Your shoe size doesn't matter when you're wearing a pair of Grant Hill's signature shoes.
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