For Joel Embiid, his newly inked deal with Under Armour is going to be “bigger than just shoes.”
Turning aside other reported suitors including Puma and New Balance, the center for the Philadelphia 76ers instead opted for a five-year apparel and footwear endorsement deal with Under Armour. He had previously been sponsored by Adidas.
At Under Armour, Embiid joins Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, skier Lindsey Vonn, ballerina Misty Copeland and others. The terms of the deal were not disclosed but ESPN reported that the endorsement will make him the highest paid center in the NBA.
In a first-person account on Under Armour’s web site posted on Wednesday, Embiid wrote: “When I sat down with Under Armour, one of the first things we talked about was how this can be bigger than just shoes, bigger than just basketball. I want to help change people’s lives.
“Basketball has given me everything, but it has to be bigger than basketball. That was the first thing that I said to Under Armour, and they were behind it 100 percent. This isn’t about a shoe deal. I mean, listen…I’m gonna make sure they design some shoes as pretty as I am. Don’t worry about that. We’re gonna take care of that. But this is bigger than that. I want to use this partnership to do something real. I want to do something that would make my brother proud. And I want to start in Philly.”
His brother was killed in a car accident shortly after the Cameroon native was drafted to play in the NBA.
Under Armour declined to comment on the size of the endorsement deal or when the first footwear and apparel will hit the market. However, he will wear the company’s HOVR Havoc at the start of the NBA season.