Skechers, the popular footwear brand, is starting a new basketball division and is in deep discussions about adding a high-profile endorser to anchor the launch.
Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid, the NBA’s reigning MVP, is nearing a deal to become Skechers’ star pitchman, industry sources briefed on the talks told The Athletic. A deal has not been signed yet, but Embiid wore a Skechers shoe for the first time during 76ers practice Wednesday with the brand’s performance staff on site as he begins to test out the sneaker, sources said. Embiid will begin wearing the new Skechers shoe in games once the deal is fully complete, according to a source.
Embiid, who had been with Under Armour, would be a massive signing for the new Skechers project. It is a weighty potential addition for the company as it jumps into a competitive space.
Skechers is expected to launch its new basketball division with a class of NBA players. While Embiid would cause the biggest ripple, New York Knicks All-Star Julius Randle and Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann are expected to sign with the brand as well, industry sources said.
Embiid is a perennial All-NBA player whose personality and star power have made him one of the league’s faces. The 29-year-old recently committed to play for USA Basketball in the 2024 Paris Olympics and has increasingly become a global face of the sport. The Cameroon-born Embiid holds passports in the U.S. and France.
Skechers is believed to still be looking to lock down other NBA players as well. The company has also made inroads in other sports, including the lifetime contract with English soccer star Harry Kane of Bayern Munich.
(Photo: Bill Streicher / USA Today)