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Oklahoma City Thunder v Philadelphia 76ers

Source: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty

Two months after a knee injury and subsequent surgery, Joel Embiid made his grand return to the court last night.

The center and his Philadelphia 76ers took on the Oklahoma City Thunder. While his windedness towards the end of the fourth quarter proves he could still benefit from some conditioning, he still helped his team tremendously.

His team won 109-105, and he poured in 24 points, six rebounds and seven assists against an OKC squad that was missing Jalen Williams and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

After the game, he spoke about what made this injury, which occurred Jan. 30, tougher than usual.

“Usually, when I have injuries, I just tell myself, move on to the next one, get better, and then fix it. But this one took a toll mentally, being depressed … It was not a good one,” he told ESPN. “So, I’m still not where I’m supposed to be, especially mentally, but I just love to play basketball, and I want to play, and any chance that I can be out there, I’m going to take it.”

But a win isn’t all the reigning league MVP has to celebrate. He’s also inked a multiyear partnership with Skechers that will not only outfit all his on-the-court needs but also plan to make a big push for Embiid to be a major part of the company’s basketball direction going forward.

Before the Skechers deal, Embiid was an Under Armour athlete, though that deal expired in 2023.

“76ers star Joel Embiid has signed a multiyear endorsement contract with Skechers to become the face of the company’s basketball division, “ wrote the Athletics‘ Shams. “Embiid is back in action after two months and now officially has a new shoe deal.”

The 76ers currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, but with just six games left in the season, they’ll likely be in the play-in with the hopes of clinching the seventh seed.

Oklahoma City Thunder v Philadelphia 76ers

Source: Tim Nwachukwu / Getty

Embiid may be the face of Skechers’ growing basketball line, but the brand has tested the waters recently with other basketball players, such as the Los Angeles Clippers Terance Mann and New York Knicks Julius Randle, whom they signed back in 2023. The press release shows both players in two new mid silhouettes, the SKX Resagrip and SKX Float, the latter of which Embiid wore Tuesday night.

Just weeks prior, soccer player Harry Kane also signed a lifetime deal with Skechers, right after debuting its first cleat.

Now, with Mann, Randle and Embiid expected to make major noise in the NBA Playoffs this year, it’s clear the brand is ready to shake things up on some of sports’ biggest stages.