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Diesel Films was on-location to capture the powerful conversation between LaDainian Tomlinson and Melissa Stark about his recent Hall Of Fame speech, which addressed not just his NFL success, but also his journey to face the truth behind his last name.


Director of Photography Erik Butts setting up the 2-shot with NFL’s Savannah Wilson and camera operator Arran Alps sitting in on-set.


Ready to roll with Melissa Stark.


Final touches.



Emotions run deep.



We live!


Break in the action.

Perhaps the most powerful moment of the interview was when LT breaks down his Hall of Fame speech. In his speech he said, “If this was my last day on Earth, and this my final speech, this is the message Iโ€™ll leave with you. The story of a man Iโ€™ve never met, my great-great-great grandfather George. 170 years ago, George was brought here in chains on a slave ship from West Africa. His last name, Tomlinson, was given to him by the man who owned him. Tomlinson was the slave-ownerโ€™s last name.”


Melissa Stark hands LT his Hall of Fame Speech.

Tomlinson added that it was initially hard for him to face this reality. He was reluctant to meet with Chris Tomlinson, one of the descendants of his family’s slave owner. Here’s a quick take from Executive Producer Seth Shapiro giving his reaction to Melissa Stark & LT’s conversation.

Marketing Coordinator Karly Finison was impressed by LT’s honesty throughout the whole interview. He didn’t shy away in sharing that this discovery was hard for him, and to carry the legacy of the Tomlinson name, rooted in such a dark history was equally as challenging.

Not shying away from conversations that have to do with race is important, especially in the context of today. Hopefully this conversation, which premiered Sunday on the NFL Network, will give others the courage to speak about these issues and rethink what this nation truly stands for, and perhaps how we can be the change.

The reaction to the show was amazing:

Overall, it was great to hear LT’s story, work with two pros, and as always, partner with the NFL to help produce another great show.

Watch the full episode here

Melissa Stark & LaDainian Tomlinson, NFL 360: Tomlinson