Left unclear by Dwyane Wade’s move from Jordan Brand to Chinese brand Li-Ning is whether he had opted for innovation or simply was not offered what he believed to be a commensurate deal.
But that’s not the point.
The point is this:
When the Miami Heat, still arguably the NBA’s most high-profile team, take the court to start games, they will take the court with a lineup that not only features Nike-wearing LeBron James and Chris Bosh, but with Wade in Li-Ning, Shane Battier in Chinese make Peak and Mario Chalmers in Spalding.
That’s four brands among five starters, including three that aren’t Nike, Reebok or adidas.
And if you’re a parent, that is a good thing, a very good thing, because when the highest-profile players are wearing something other than the highest-profile (and often highest-priced) brands, it presents economic alternatives. And in this economy, having more “it” brands offers more hope when it comes to leaving the shoe store with something in your wallet.
No, we’re not talking Starbury cheap or even those low-budget models that Shaq was pitching at one point. But not being limited to one, two or three brands at least offers options.
With Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, Jordan Brand should do just fine without Wade. And the last time we checked, Nike is still moving those almost-$300 LeBron models with the computer chips in them.
But for every player wearing Li-Ning, Peak, Spalding or something other than one of the big-three brands, it at least offers hope to every parent who has tried to suggest, “Hey, how about these?”
Because at least now, somebody you’ve actually heard of actually is wearing them.
Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at @IraHeatBeat.