In the Fall of 2020. Under Armour is going to be releasing Joel Embiid’s first ever signature shoe, the Embiid 1. He will be the seventh center all-time to have a signature shoe in the NBA, but does he deserve one?
Joel Embiid has put up monstrous numbers in his 189 career NBA games, averaging 24.1 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. He is also known for his confidence and “trolling” on social media. His personality is undeniably well known throughout the entire NBA. “The Process” missed over two and a half of his first three NBA seasons due to a broken bone in his right foot, but when he first played in the NBA, he was immediately a star in the making. He is widely known as one of the most dominant centers in a league where almost every player has expanded to the three-point line, but he remains very successful. In two and a half years of NBA basketball played, he is already a two time All-Star, a two time All-NBA Second Team member, and a two time All-Defensive Second Team member! This is on top of his All-Rookie First Team in 2017.
The six centers who have earned a signature shoe before Embiid are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, and Dwight Howard. Joel Embiid resembles all of these players. He is nearly unstoppable in the paint and has a big following/personality that other people desire. I don’t believe there has been another center since Dwight Howard who has been this dominant and has had an ego like him other than Joel Embiid. The only other player I could argue is DeMarcus Cousins, but I feel that he didn’t receive a signature shoe because he was never the star on a winning team. Sacramento never built the perfect team around him to win games. Joel Embiid and the 76ers reached the second round of the playoffs last year, and they are currently the sixth seed in a surprisingly loaded Eastern Conference. In that case, Joel Embiid is the perfect candidate to be the next center to receive a signature shoe.
On the other hand, NBA center’s signature shoes do not tend to sell the same as any other position on the court, mainly because not many people are nearly seven feet tall and are pushing people around in the paint. The highest selling signature shoes of 2019 were shoes like the LeBron 17, the Why Not Zer0.2 from Russell Westbrook, the Kyrie 5, and the Zoom Freak 1, just to name a few. All of these shoes are made by players who play the guard position, or at least play similar to it. LeBron James basically runs the point guard position for the Lakers, and Giannis Antetokounmpo is a very quick 6’11” power forward who plays like a slashing guard. Joel Embiid isn’t that type of player. Even Under Armour’s own Stephen Curry sells shoes through the roof, because every kid in the gym aspires to be him. There are not many people who have a chance to be the next Embiid because naturally, people don’t have that frame. The average sized people aspire to be the point guards of the future, not the centers.
Nonetheless, I am very excited for Joel Embiid’s signature shoe with Under Armour, and I am very happy for him, as he joins an elite class of centers. He deserves to have his own shoe because in my eyes, he is the most dominant center we have had since Dwight Howard in Orlando.