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).