It’s official: Dwyane Wade has landed a new shoe contract with Li-Ning, a Chinese sportswear provider, giving Wade his own brand in the company along with strategic input and a massive of amount of creativity.
The Heat are currently visting Beijing on a NBA China Games tour, where Li-Ning is located and the partnership will be announced on Wednesday.
Before signing with Li-Ning Wade wore Converse for his first six season before switching to Jordan Brand the last three seasons.
”It was a great nine years, but for me, it was just time to move on,” Wade told the Associated Press. ”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 plans to debut the Li-Ning sneaker Thursday, when the Miami Heat play a preseason game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Beijing. He will also wear them in Shanghai on Sunday when the Heat and Clippers meet again if he gets the chance to play. After the first games Li-Ning will auction the sneakers off.
However, Wade made it known that the shoes he wears in China are not the final product. “What you see in China will not be the final product,” he said.
Wade’s shoes are not expected to debut in the U.S. until 2013. They will not be as expensive as his teammate’s shoe, Lebron James. James shoes start off at $165, but Wade’s shoe is expected to retail at $120. Wade said he was not in rush to sign with any particular shoe brand.
He said,”I picked the best situation for me.”
Wade is the second biggest NBA star to endorse the Li-Ning since Shaquille O’Neal. He became familiar with Li-Ning after first seeing the Chinese gymnastics hero, who is a winner of six medals, three gold, at the Los Angeles Olympics. Li-Ning lit the cauldron in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Li-Ning hopes by partnering with Wade they can gain recognition in the U.S. They have around 8,000 outlets in China.
”In the U.S., the China brand is not the cool factor,” Wade said. ”A lot of work has gone into this and a lot of work is going to continue to go into it. For me, it’s a challenge. As an athlete, you look forward to that.”