A lot of rumors have been going around since All-Star weekend about Joel Embiid leaving Under Armour. The Philadelphia 76ers superstar has since mellowed down in the sneaker discussions to focus on rehabilitating his injury. Now, he is slated to make a return against Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's Oklahoma City Thunder and has made a decision about his future in endorsements. It looks like Skechers may have won.

Joel Embiid is signing a multi-year deal with Skechers and will be the brand's face when it comes to their basketball division, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. The 76ers star started testing out shoes for them in the last quarter of 2023. He even brought along team representatives in this test to seek their approval and feedback. All went well for this shoe brand and has now convinced the reigning Most Valuable Player to join them.

This move comes after Under Armour's deal with Joel Embiid never materialized as much as other player's shoe deals. It is quite apparent that Stephen Curry is still the leading face of this brand and the 76ers superstar was just playing second fiddle to him. The big man felt the lack of attention from the brand and the relationship was not salvaged anymore. He just finished the five-year contract that he signed with Under Armour and quickly packed his bags to join Skechers.

The disparity between Under Armour's treatment of Curry and Joel Embiid was quite evident. The 76ers star only got a signature shoe two years after he signed his deal with them. A lack of effective marketing also disallowed the Embiid One from being a well-known basketball performance sneaker. Curry already has 11 signature sneakers with the brand since signing with them back in 2015. This could have been the benchmark on which the 76ers star based his judgment among many other factors.

Embiid will now join a star-studded roster of endorsers that includes Harry Kane, Clayton Kershaw, Brooke Henderson, Matt Fitzpatrick, Julius Randle, and Terence Mann among others.

Fans go nuts over new sneakers

© Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

This new deal prompted a lot of positive reactions directed towards the sportswear brand and the 76ers star before the Thunder clash started.

Fans have stated their support for the MVP after getting the contract, “Get that bag Jo. Skechers is an interesting choice.”

Some were even praising the shoe brand for landing such a big name, “Great deal… Skechers have been doing great lately.”

A certain big man and his Walmart deal also came to mind for some sneakerheads, “That's based and also reminds me of the Shaq shoe deal for some reason.”

Call it a comeback for the 76ers legend

Apr 2, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) during warms up against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
© Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Two months is a long time. Thankfully, the Most Valuable Player is back and will now be able to ball out for the rest of their regular season games heading into the playoffs. His post-injury campaign will see him start against the Thunder. A meniscus tear prevented him from taking home another MVP award for the 76ers and even made the team backslide in the standings.

Had he not gone down with the injury, the award would pretty much still be his for the second straight season. He notched an impressive 35.3 points while grabbing 11.3 rebounds in the games where his health was not questionable. Moreover, his passing off the post got significantly better too. This massive improvement saw him exercise his playmaking and court vision a lot to earn an average of 5.3 assists on a nightly basis.

This game against the Thunder is where he will get to prove two things. The first is that he is back into his prime form despite missing time due to recovery. Another is that he is the rightful person who should be able to claim the MVP trophy if not for the minimum game requirement. Will they take the win over Shai Gilgeous-Alexander's squad?