Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat superstar who grew up in Chicago idolizing Michael Jordan, has parted ways with the Hall of Famer’s Jordan Brand. It is a significant move in the lucrative sneaker world, where all indications are that Wade will link with the Chinese brand Li-Ning.
Wade, who is recovering from knee surgery, confirmed the separation after nine years of wearing Jordans.
Apparently, Wade has yet to sign a new deal with Li-Ning, although ESPN NY reported that was his destination. For his part, the 6-foot-5 guard who has two championships with Miami was mum on announcing where he is headed.
“I just really can’t comment on my new deal,” Wade said. “I did mutually part ways with the Jordan umbrella, with Jordan and Converse. I had a great nine years, but we have mutually parted ways, and I’m moving on.”
Wade said he’s “not disappointed” at leaving the Jordan Brand. But he did acknowledge that it was special to work with Jordan, his childhood idol.
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“It’s just the time,” Wade said. “We just went our separate ways. But I still feel honored to have represented my favorite player of all time and his brand and the opportunity I was given.”
Jordan Brand offered little on the shakeup, saying in a release. “We wish Dwyane well as he continues his career.”
Wade’s teammate Shane Battier gave a heads up to cbssports.com, saying, “Welcome Dwyane to the Chinese shoe family. It’s good to have my fellow brother over there.”
The Chinese company Li-Ning is slowly making its imprint in the NBA shoe game. Battier, although a mid-level profile player, is with the outfit. So is future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics and Evan Turner of the Philadelpia Sixers. Additionally, guard Baron Davis had a Li-Ning shoe named after him.