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Shaquille O’Neal Signs Deal With Li-Ning For “Dunkman” Line
Published August 15, 2006
|Li-Ning’s Zhang Zhiyong (l) And O’Neal At
Announcement Of “Dunkman” Shoe Deal
MENDING FENCES: The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Fowler & Fong write the deal could help O’Neal “overcome perceptions of racism, which were initially sparked when [he] allegedly made derogatory comments” about Yao. O’Neal later said he was joking and that he was friends with Yao, but “many Chinese sports fans were rankled nonetheless.” During the announcement of the deal yesterday, O’Neal “drew snickers from the audience when he said, ‘I’m Shaquille O’Neal and I love China’” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/15).
POPULARITY CONTEST: Last year through November, O’Neal’s No. 32 Heat jersey was the eighth-best selling NBA jersey in China. The following lists the top ten (THE DAILY).
|1)||Rockets F Tracy McGrady|
|2)||76ers G Allen Iverson|
|3)||Rockets C Yao Ming|
|4)||Lakers G Kobe Bryant|
|5)||Cavaliers F LeBron James|
|6)||Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony|
|7)||T’Wolves F Kevin Garnett|
|8)||Heat C Shaquille O’Neal|
|9)||Suns G Steve Nash|
|10)||Heat G Dwyane Wade|
SPIRIT OF ’92: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s John Lombardo reports USA Basketball and Nike “will bring back apparel from the original Dream Team ... as part of its revamped merchandise strategy” leading into the World Championships beginning Saturday and the Beijing Games. NBA Senior VP/Global Merchandising Group Sal LaRocca said, “There will be a primary focus in recreating the first Dream Team from 1992, with every jersey from every player to be on sale with a November launch.” Lombardo notes a marketing deal with the league calls on the NBA to run USA Basketball’s merchandising efforts. USA Basketball and the NBA will split 10-15% of merchandising revenue generated from the World Championships to the ’08 Olympics. The ’04 Athens Games generated just $1M in merchandise sales (SBJ, 8/14).