Last week, Joel Embiid signed an endorsement contract with Under Armour, a five year pact that will make him the highest-paid endorser at his position. This development happens to dovetail with a trend that has dominated the NBA: Signature shoes.
What Does Joel Embiid’s Record Under Armour Deal Mean for the Rest of the NBA?
Signature shoes have taken over the NBA
According to that same ESPN report, around 70 percent of players that played in an NBA game last year wore a signature model, of which there were only 19: 11 from U.S.-based companies, eight from Chinese-based companies. When Puma Hoops was recruiting first overall draft pick De'Andre Ayton to join their brand before his rookie season, they won him over with a pitch that involved De'Andre creating his own line with Puma, something a brand like Nike and Adidas doesn't typically offer athletes until they've become well-established stars. Under Armour presumably adopted a similar approach: Instead of taking a "prove-it" deal with someone like Nike, Embiid has input and buy-in that he might not have elsewhere.
This is a trend that's going to continue, especially as new brands enter the market. While brands like Anta and PEAK are lesser-known domestically, they can offer players more money, more input and more control. To make the understatement of the century, feet are quite important in the NBA; most, if not all, players' shoes contain custom orthotics, making off-the-rack or concerns about durability and fit somewhat irrelevant. (Some players go through about 50 shoes a season). Now that the NBA has lifted many restrictions for on-court shoes, it's open season for apparel companies.
So who's next?
More from one37pm
How Custom Cleats Is Reinventing Baseball Style
The customs wave has hit baseball *hard* this year. Here’s who’s behind it.
What Does Creative Control Look Like in Pro Wrestling?
Chris Jericho's podcast with Jon Moxley set the wrestling internet ablaze
Who Should Be in WWE's Hall of Fame Class for 2020?
The Rock is in. Who else deserves to be inducted?
Here Are the Best Moments From the Week in Sports
Board man *got* paid, Rafa rules, WWE overseas and more
Kevin Durant’s Free Agency Is Going to Be Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen
Will this be the greatest free agency summer ever?
Smash the Follow for These 3 Transfer Window Gurus
World soccer is about to have a big summer. Here’s how to get the best and freshest information.