With a well-deserved reputation as having one of the loudest, most intense fanbases, Philly is not the easiest city to play for. Yet, one player has not only become beloved there, he’s become an adopted son of sorts, an embodiment of who Philly is as a city and the face of one of the most iconic franchises in basketball.
Joel Embiid was drafted third overall by Philadelphia after a promising freshman season at Kansas. Originally from Yaounde, Cameroon, Embiid went from not picking up a basketball until he was 15 to being declared the savior to a major franchise. For Embiid, it had been one hell of a journey. He was discovered at a basketball camp by fellow Yaounde native and NBA vet Luc Mbah a Moute, and with him as his mentor Embiid moved to America at 16 to pursue a basketball dream. As a senior in high school, Embiid was one of the top recruits in the country and would lead his team to a state title before heading off to Lawrence, Kansas to play for Bill Self. That season, Embiid was one of 30 finalists for the Player of the Year award.
After the draft, there was a ton of hype surrounding Embiid, and Philly fans were salivating at seeing him take the court. Unfortunately, Embiid’s career got off to a brutal start as he struggled with injury after injury. Questions began to swirl about whether he would ever play a game in the NBA. Throughout it all, Embiid remained focused on his rehab, saying, “You can’t just sit back and hope for the best. You have to put in the work every single day. You just have to trust the process and make sure you’re working hard because it will pay off.”
When Embiid finally took the court in his third season, he quickly became a force that opposing teams were ill-equipped to handle. In a league that has gradually become more perimeter-oriented with a major emphasis on outside shooting, Embiid was dominating the paint and feasting night in and night out. Despite only playing 31 games, Embiid finished second in Rookie of the Year voting and quickly established himself as a fan favorite in Philly.
Embiid said, “I love the fans – we have a special relationship. One minute they might cheer for you and the next minute they might boo you. That just shows you they care. I’d rather play there then for another city where fans just come to the game for entertainment. I want people to care because it pushes me to be better.”
Embiid has paired his immense physical gifts with a burning desire to be one of the greatest to ever play. Now entering his sixth season, he has made clear his goals to win an MVP and bring a title to Philly. To help achieve those goals Embiid has partnered with Under Armour for his first signature shoe, the UA Embiid One. Together with designer Reggie Wilson, they have designed a shoe that isn’t just for big men but for all players.
Before even sitting down with Joel to discuss the shoe, Wilson was busy seeking out inspiration by looking at Embiid’s home country of Cameroon and studying some famous monuments and landmarks from there. He really dug into Embiid’s journey to the league and was inspired by what he learned.
One of the unique aspects of the shoe is that it tells Embiid’s story chronologically through the shoe’s colorways. Wilson is pumped to show off some of the key details in the shoe saying, “His family is really important to him, so we molded his family’s names into the backside of the TPU wing.” Wilson also noted that he loves how the outsole turned out and that people should really look for some of those smaller storytelling elements embedded in the shoe.
From a technical aspect for the shoe, there are a few things Wilson is really excited about. The first thing is the breathability of the shoe. Wilson learned from a Philadelphia trainer that Embiid’s feet would get incredibly hot during games. It became so bad that Embiid would have to take his shoes off when he was on the bench to give his feet some fresh air. “Some of the shoes he was wearing were so bulky, so many layers, and that was one of the things we wanted to avoid. We wanted to make this as breathable as possible but still strong enough for him,” said Wilson. By constructing the upper with mesh layers Wilson was able to ensure that heat was able to escape and fresh air could flow through the shoe.
Cushioning is where a shoe really makes its mark, and the UA Embiid One is certainly not lacking in that department. It’s built with HOVR technology, Under Armour’s patented cushioning tech, that provides some of the best, most efficient energy return in the game. Sitting under the heel of the foot is Micro-G cushioning to add additional cushioning.
During the design process Embiid and Wilson worked closely together to figure out the cut of the shoe. Eschewing the typical high-cut that has become common with basketball shoes they decided to go with a mid-cut, which better matched Embiid’s style of play. The cut really speaks to the versatility of shoe. Guards and wing players get the freedom they need to drive hard to the basket and big men the support they need to dominate down low.
Both Embiid and Wilson are thrilled with how the shoe turned out and can’t wait for it to become available.
About the shoe, Embiid said, “It was great working with them and I’m happy with the end result, and I think it’s going to be exciting when it comes out.”
The Embiid One will be available exclusively at eastbay.com on September 18, two weeks before any other retailer. When you purchase a pair you will also receiver a free poster with your order.
June 16th, 1905 and President Teddy Roosevelt has taken refuge under
a tree trying to escape the heat. As he wipes his glasses, he pulls a small
metallic ball out of his pocket. After twisting the ball several ways, he
throws it in front of him. A cloud of smoke is released and from the smoke
steps George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Yes, Teddy
Roosevelt had invented time travel and he used it to compete against former
presidents in 2v2 games of basketball. This is the oral history of one of those
Washington: “The first thing you have to understand was just how hot it was
Jefferson: “It must have been 95 degrees, and you know we’re not exactly
dressed for the weather.”
“Unfortunately, I was posing for a portrait when Teddy summoned me. There I was
standing in my full military gear from the war sweating like a mongoose. Plus,
the artist was charging by the hour, so I ended up paying him double.”
Lincoln: “I appreciate getting buckets as much as the next guy, but Teddy
really doesn’t think about when he grabs us. I’m trying to deal with South
Carolina seceding. I don’t have time for a game.”
Roosevelt: “The wife and kids were up in New York, and I really wanted to get
some exercise, so I got the boys.”
“I figured the fastest way to get home would be to indulge Teddy and play a
“I just wanted to get it over with.”
“Even though I didn’t really want to play, I love getting the chance to shut
Washington and Jefferson up. I get it, you guys beat the British. Congrats, get
“I love playing with Abe. Man is a gifted passer. George and Jefferson just
love to chuck it from deep.”
“I brought up that we didn’t really have the best shoes to play in. Seemed kind
Roosevelt: “So when I accidentally invented time travel (I was trying to build a machine to perfectly toast a bagel) I ended up at a Dallas vs. Phoenix game. I had never seen a building so big before. After watching a little bit of the game, I started exploring the building. Somehow, I ended up in the player’s dressing room. There were just pairs of shoes lying around, and I thought it was ridiculous that one person would need that many shoes. So, I took several pairs. There was a PG, a Curry, a Dame, and a LeBron.
“It was kind of understood that Thomas and I were playing together. Those who defeat
the British together, play together.”
“I threw on the LeBrons and started warming up. My shot had been a little broke
lately, so I wanted to get some up before the game started.”
“If Abe just took off the freaking top hat, he would probably play a lot
better. I don’t understand his fashion tastes.”
“Washington tried to snag the Currys, but those are my shoes. I love the low
tops. Plus, it’s incredible how comfortable they are.”
“It was whatever. I got the Dames, which was probably for the best. They fit
like a glove, and man are they bouncy.”
“I don’t know who PG is, but I always wear his shoes because holy cow those
things are light and comfortable. To go from shoes without any cushioning to
“Games are always to 24, win by 4. Lincoln shot for ball and missed.”
“Not a great start.”
“It always takes me a few minutes to get warmed up, so I try to let Jefferson
cook for a minute.”
“If Teddy is guarding you, you have to understand you are getting nothing in
the paint. Man is absolutely stout down there, but he’s not the quickest so he
likes to sag off which means you can get some open jumpers.”
Jefferson came out of the gates blazing hot starting 4 for 4 to put his team up
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jefferson catch fire like that.”
“I was stunned.”
“I haven’t had that much fun since Ben Franklin’s party after we sent the
British packing. There’s no better feeling than being hot.”
“He hit two from deep right off the rip, so I tried to get up on him. He was
able to get a step on me and hit two tough layups.”
“Thankfully, I was able to hit a couple jumpers to keep us from being in too
deep a hole. I came down on Washington’s foot after the first jumper, but
thankfully the LeBron was strong enough to keep my ankle from turning.”
“I hate guarding Teddy because that boy’s elbows are incredibly sharp.”
“We were up 10-4 and with Lincoln trying to help Teddy, I tried to get myself
“The thing that’s frustrating about Washington is if he starts cold, he’ll keep
chucking until he finally hits. By the time he hit his first shot, it was 12-12.”
“If George struggles, he likes to mutter to himself, and no one is better at
getting in someone’s head than Teddy.”
“Oh I was letting him have it. I was firing shots about how he couldn’t throw
the ball in the Delaware River. How he needed help from the French to win the
“I’ve gotten used to Teddy talking, but there are just some things you don’t
“Never, and I mean never, are you to bring up George’s teeth.”
“Even I winced when Teddy made a crack about it.”
“I think George is a little too sensitive about it but that’s just me.”
the next possession, Washington got Teddy switched on to him and backed him
down. George tried to spin, and a high elbow cracked Teddy across the jaw.
Lincoln and Jefferson had to separate the two.
“I get that George is pissed, but that’s something you can’t do.”
“It was unnecessary.”
“I think Teddy definitely sold the contact. I didn’t hit him that hard.”
“Obviously I had that initial rush of anger, but overall I loved it because now
I knew it was gonna be a battle.”
“I didn’t let the British push me around, and I’m not gonna let a guy in
spectacles talk that noise.”
“I can’t really describe the energy after that, but it definitely got more
“As much as I wasn’t thrilled with what George did, it just made me want to
beat Teddy and Abe that much more.”
“The heat wasn’t helping our moods. We were all drenched in sweat and suffocating
under the humidity.”
The game continued in a back and forth manner with Teddy beginning to brutalize Jefferson in the post. Meanwhile, Teddy’s talking seemed to have backfired as Washington began knocking down shot after shot. The score was 22-20 in favor of Washington and Jefferson.
“Despite everyone’s competitiveness, fouls have always been something we’ve
usually been able to agree upon.”
“Offense usually calls fouls, but we allow defense to call fouls too if they
really hack someone.”
“I’m being dead honest when I tell you I was floored when Abe called it.”
“I don’t know what the big deal was. George hit my arm, and he knows it.”
“On Martha, I did not touch him.”
“I didn’t really see it, but Abe didn’t say anything until after the ball
rimmed out which is always sketchy.”
“I thought George was going to call it. The man supposedly cannot tell a lie.”
“Abe hardly calls anything, so I don’t really see how they can complain that
“I think Abe was so mad that we even dared to question him that he decided he
was not losing.”
“George was in his grill, so I was fully prepared for him to dump it in the
“I was calling for it, but Abe never even glanced at me.”
“There’s no better feeling than hitting a step-back on someone’s head. If only
the British had seen the shot I hit on George, we’d still be living under the
“Still mad he hit that shot. Especially given that it put them up 23-22.”
“It was such a cocky shot that I really wanted to answer with something
similar. I drove at Teddy, didn’t step back as much as I stepped sideways. The
problem was my hands were so sweaty that the ball slipped as I shot it,
“Probably the dumbest thing Jefferson’s ever done, and this is the guy who
bought Louisiana for God’s sake.”
“As soon as he missed, I knew I was going for the win.”
“Boy I really didn’t want him to hit it on me again.”
“I came up to set a screen, Washington knew it was coming, and he took just a
half step back. That was all Abe needed.”
“Didn’t even take a dribble.”
“People always say they know a shot is good when it leaves their hand, but that
wasn’t true for me. I didn’t know it was going in until it went through the
the game over Teddy sent the players back to their respective time periods. Lincoln
went back to dealing with the Civil War. Washington and Jefferson went back to
founding America. Before everyone left there was an agreement that they would
play once a week from here on out.
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These shoes look perfect, but I just don’t trust ordering the right size through a website.
If you’ve ever had that thought — about any items you’ve shopped for online — you’re not alone. Purchasing on the Internet, for all of its conveniences, still feels like a gamble to a lot of conscientious customers, particularly those who are buying products made for serious athletic competition. Shoes, gear, and clothing — whether they’re intended for sports or for leisure — can be significant investments, and you should be confident in finding just the right fit when it comes to buying them. At Eastbay, we’re committed to helping our customers find that ideal fit, and we guarantee it by providing no-cost, no-hassle exchanges for that perfect size. This is our Eastbay Fit Promise to you. It’s a promise to ensure you’re completely confident and satisfied with every purchase from us.
How the Eastbay Fit Promise Works
Make sure to keep the order invoice that came with your purchase, along with the SmartLabel shipping sticker.
Please keep all tags and stickers on the item when trying it on, and make sure it stays in unused condition.
If the item doesn’t fit properly, fill out the order invoice return form, which asks for the new sizing you would like in exchange.
Attach the SmartLabel sticker that came with your order to the outside of your exchange package, and drop it in the mail.
As long as your exchange is sent within 90 days of your original purchase, we’ll cover the cost of shipping to get you the size you need.
A Promise from Our Family to Yours
At Eastbay, we understand the needs of athletes and their families — our family is made up of athletes. We’re also the parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and grandparents of dedicated young athletes. We know how important it is for you to find the right shoes, clothing, and equipment for any sport, which is why Eastbay continues to offer the greatest quality and selection of sport-specific products on the market. The Eastbay Fit Promise is an extension of that belief and purpose. In providing a way for you to get exactly the right size in any item, we can prepare you for greatness in every endeavor. You can learn more about us and how to prepare for greatness at Eastbay.com.