After reports have been flying around that Dwyane Wade was planning to leave the Jordan brand, it's looking more and more like that will be a reality.
Hoopsvibe's quick call: The Jordan brand will miss D-Wade.
It was reported Thursday by SneakerWatch.com that "Dwyane Wade will no longer be repping the Jordan Brand." If the reports are in fact true, which it seems that they will be, it will end a three-year relationship that Wade has had with the Jordan Brand.
Prior to signing with Jordan, Wade was endorsed by Converse. (On a side note, Converse is now owned by Nike while the Jordan Brand has always fallen under the Nike umbrella).
Wade told the Sun Sentinel on Friday, "We're still negotiating, until you get to the point where you decide which way to go. There's many shoe companies that obviously know that I'm up this summer. But I still have the respect for and the obligation and the willingness to sit down and to the company I'm with."
As of today, it's looking like Wade is going to take his shoe talents to the Far East (catch phrase anyone?) and sign a deal with China-based company Li-Ning.
Li-Ning is a major Chinese athletic company that was founded by former Olympic gymnast, Li Ning, in 1990. The company has seen pretty explosive growth in the past several years and is also an official marketing partner of the NBA. (So a sponsorship with D-Wade makes sense). Today, the company has sponsorship deals with five current and former NBA players: Baron Davis (Knicks), Shaquille O'Neal (retired, TNT analyst), Damon Jones (currently not in the league), Jose Calderon (Raptors), and Evan Turner (76ers).
Interestingly enough, Li-Ning's logo is kind of similar to Nike's. You can see the logo by clicking the link here.
Wade's sneaker under the Jordan Brand was called the Fly Wade and while at first glance it sounds crazy to leave the Jordan Brand behind, sales of the Fly Wade have been lacking. Not to mention, the popularity of the NBA in China has increased substantially in the last decade and there are a lot of people over there buying shoes and getting into the sport.
The Fly Wade, which was Wade's first Jordan shoe, was at the time of creation the lightest Jordan shoe in the company's history.
This just might end up being one of the better business decisions D-Wade ever made. Hoopsvibe wishes D-Wade luck on his new venture!
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Image source: WENN Images