Under Armour has signed Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid to a sneaker endorsement deal, the Baltimore-based sports apparel maker announced Wednesday.
The company released no details of the endorsement. It is reportedly a five-year footwear and apparel deal that will make Embiid the highest-paid player at his position, according to ESPN, citing industry sources. Under Armour said it does not disclose terms of such deals.
“Today, I’m joining the Under Armour family, but I’m not trying to sell you sneakers right now,” Embiid, who previously had an endorsement deal with Adidas, said in an announcement Wednesday on Under Armour’s website.
In the announcement, the 24-year-old, 7-foot All-Star described his childhood in Cameroon, where he said he never played organized basketball until age 16, when he was recruited into an elite basketball camp. After being drafted by the 76ers, he suffered the loss of his younger brother, who was killed in a car accident. He wrote of being proud of a brother who as a teenager would take food and clothes from his home and hand it out to less fortunate neighborhood kids.
“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,” Embiid wrote. “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,” he wrote. “I want to use this partnership to do something real. I want to do something that would make my brother proud.”
Under Armour, which has struggled amid intense competition and changing consumer tastes for well over a year, has seen bright spots in basketball shoe sales. That’s been largely thanks to the brand’s biggest basketball ambassador, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, and his line of signature Under Armour shoes.