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Dwyane Wade talks switch from Jordan brand to Li-Ning

Oct 9, 2012, 3:57 PM EDT

China NBA AP

Most players grow up dreaming of wearing Jordans, of being a guy Nike promotes around the globe.

Dwyane Wade had all that — and left it for Chinese shoe brand Li-Ning.

While word of the change got out a couple weeks ago Wade addressed the switch for the first time Tuesday — not so coincidentally while the Heat were in China for a couple of preseason games against the Clippers. Where Wade is expected to play (in at least one game) and wear Li-Nings. From Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press.

”It was a great nine years, but for me, it was just time to move on,” Wade told the AP. ”I have certain goals that I want to reach and I felt that I had to leave to reach those. So I’m doing things a little differently. That’s how I am, in a sense. I’m not necessarily a status-quo type guy.”

Wade instantly becomes the face of the Li-Ning’s basketball efforts. He is the biggest name by far with the brand. While Shaquille O’Neal is an endorser that came later in his career. Also signed with the brand are Evan Turner of the Sixers and Hasheem Thabeet of the Thunder.

Wade will have his own line of apparel and the fashion-consious guy will have a lot of say on the look and design. Those things and his signature shoe are still in the design phase.

”I picked the best situation for me,” Wade said.

Li-Ning — named after and founded by the famed three-time gold medal winning Chinese gymnast, the guy who lit the cauldron at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. — is big in China, a company with more than 8,000 retail outlets. But they have had a tough time making inroads in the United States, where Nike and Jordan dominate the basketball shoe market (Nike accounts for more than 85 percent of basketball shoe sales).

  1. dalucks - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Reading between the lines, Dwayne Wade left Jordan Brand for more money. The shoes Brand Jordan issued him were terribly designed so he is not losing much.
    I know someone will say, Jordan Brand could pay him more but obviously not since Dwayne Wade left.
    Lesson learned for this, childhood dreams and adult money are two different things. Remember people as a professional, if it don’t make dollars then it don’t make sense. Strictly business.

    • nbascreed - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      I really hope it’s more than that. I really hope that Wade’s got some serious equity (or at least markert towards that) and has an eye on life after hoops. It would be sweet to see an athlete have the shoe BUSINESS really work for him. And for all of you who will say “what about MJ”? Someday I’ll do a blog post and clearly illustrate how much of Phil Knights $12B networth is tied to MJ (who is at a paltry $350M by comparison).

      I say do it Wade…equity is king bro!!!

      • adnan604 - Oct 10, 2012 at 1:56 AM

        am I reading this right ? are you really suggesting that Michael Jordan is worth $350 million ?

        please re-check your facts and come back legit instead of quoting a number either off the top of your head or some backyard blog you may have read at. “Officialy” Forbes magazine listed him at $500 mill, and that’s at the end of 2010…

        But everyone knows he’s been worth well over a billion for a number of years now

    • manchestermiracle - Oct 9, 2012 at 4:47 PM

      I was going to say that it must be money because Chinese-made Li-Ning can’t be as good as Nikes, but aren’t Nikes made in China, too? So it must be all about the money.

  2. dalucks - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    Post the article, I would like to read about the relationship between Phil Knight and Michael Jordan.

  3. money2long - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    anyone remember the lockout feud where the players started to look at jordan sideways bcuz he was one of those stubborn owners?

  4. stickesabado - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    “A great nine years….” I guess he even forgot about his Converse deal the first 6 seasons of his career lol

    • vwg12345 - Oct 9, 2012 at 5:45 PM

      Nike owns Converse…

    • 00maltliquor - Oct 9, 2012 at 6:47 PM

      That’s it!! I knew that line looked off! I was scratching my head saying to myself, ” that don’t seem right”…almost forgot about the Converse deal he had. Haha!

    • chuckswagonwagon - Oct 12, 2012 at 8:09 AM

      He didn’t forget… nike bought converse!

  5. franklinandbashandflorio - Oct 9, 2012 at 6:52 PM

    And The Hulkster used to wear Foot Joy.

  6. itsthemelman82 - Oct 9, 2012 at 7:05 PM

    Nobody bought his signature Jordan Brand show but, NO ONE will even be able to find these. He’s turned so Hollywood you wouldn’t even think he’s from Chicago

    • blueintown - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:00 AM

      No one will be able to find them expect the 1.4 billion people in the most populous country on earth.

  7. roguecultureaficionado - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    This article could have been so much more informative and insightful, had it mentioned that Converse has been owned by Nike since 2003. And the tracked the careers of players whose games seemed to go down hill once they changed to an off brand shoe and on the contrary elevated once connected to Nike. There is a definite connection. And while Nikes are made in China, the Chinese are notorious for sub par materials in th here own products and brands.

  8. srr1175 - Oct 9, 2012 at 9:52 PM

    For what it’s worth, Converse is owned by Nike which also owns Jordan Brand.

  9. robotreese - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:31 PM

    And for what it’s worth Li-Ning’s American operations are based in Chicago

  10. stayhigh_247 - Oct 10, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    who cares? The only way they can get some serious run is to get a college team to endorse them and Nike & Adidas aint having that. And if just had to jrop a buck 50 or more on some kicks, those D Rose joints are mad nyce. Wade, you better design something dope if you want American kids to spend their coin on some Li Nings. Sounds to close to Pro Wings for my taste though…

    • addictedzone - Oct 10, 2012 at 9:07 AM

      There are 1.3 billion people in China. That’s more than four times the size of the US population. I doubt Li-Ning is concerned with your tastes.

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