Retired basketball legend Grant Hill recently sat down with MLIVE to reflect on his 19 seasons with the NBA, life and hip-hop including the story behind Tupac’s famous FILA photo. It’s been two decades since the photo first appeared in the booklet of All Eyez On Me, a monumental album as it was the first hip-hop double disc to ever release. Inside, Tupac is seen sporting an all-denim fit and ’90s basketball staple, the FILA Grant Hill II’s. Considering 1996 when the album dropped was a time before sneaker brands commonly seeded their shoes to rappers, there was a whole different respect for the sneaker game.
Hill recalls releasing his first shoe, and sending them to Method Man, simply out of respect and admiration without knowing him personally. Same goes for the II’s with Tupac, as he explains “We actually had a mutual friend and when he got out, just sending love, I sent some (shoes) not even sure if it would happen. Then when he had them on in his album cover, I thought that was cool. It was just a good time.” The photo ended up having a huge cultural impact, defining a style and boosting FILA’s presence to the point where the shoes are still seen as some of the freshest. To read more about Hill and his interview, check it out here.