SBD/November 28, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship

Dwyane Wade Out To Prove Li-Ning "Just As Good" As Jordan, Other Brands

Wade lauded Li-Ning's emphasis on him being not just an endorser but a partner
Heat G Dwyane Wade said his job as a Li-Ning endorser is “just to try to, over the course of time, bring something new, and exciting,” because there is “a part of the world that likes to be different, and they like to be a part of something new and different,” according to David Aldridge of NBA.com. Wade spoke with Aldridge about his decision to leave Jordan Brand and sign with the Chinese shoe and apparel company earlier this year. The following is an excerpt from the Q&A:

Q: Do you think your decision will start to break the stranglehold that Nike and Brand Jordan have on the shoe game?
Wade: No, nothing dramatic right now. ... We just want to make an imprint, and prove, obviously, that our brand is just as good as any other brand.

Q: You had total control over design, construction, colors?
Wade: Yeah. It was tough. I had a short period of time to do everything. ... Normally you need a whole year, or a year and a half, or so more to create something. ... They did a great job of listening to kind of what I was saying I look for, and tried to create that with the first shoe. Obviously it'll get better as we go on.

Q: Did you get any resistance from your camp -- your agent, or anyone else -- to doing this?
Wade: They let me make the decision. They brought it to me. Once they brought it to me, obviously I've been with the Nike umbrella my whole career, college, etcetera. So that was my first feeling was, I have to give them (Brand Jordan) a shot to see if they really want me. ... I listened to them and gave them the first chance, and I decided it was time to move on.

Q: Did the Li-Ning people do anything to blow you away?
Wade: I've met and talked with Mr. Li Ning on many occasions, so many different times, and him telling me the importance of me being a partner, and not just an endorser. ... When I first went over to Jordan, it was cool, it was something I wanted to do. And once you realize what's the cool thing about it was, I wasn't a part of. The cool thing about Jordan is retro. And I'm not a part of that. Once I was in there, and it became, OK, now this is where you're at and this is the business of it, I seen some things that I felt probably wasn't good for me (NBA.com, 11/26).
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