Dwyane Wade Reportedly Considering Leaving Jordan Brand For Li-Ning
Sneaker magazine Sole Collector's Nick DePaula tweeted Thursday: "Hearing from several people that Dwyane Wade will likely leave Jordan Brand and sign with Li-Ning. Huge shift," according to Jon Pastuszek of NIUBBALL.com. The news follows Jordan Brand canceling his Fly Wade 3's, "and the two sides are reportedly seriously considering a split." Li-Ning has been "struggling as of late," and adding Wade to its roster "may be what it needs to move past what has been a rocky and unprofitable period." After the '08 Beijing Olympics, Li-Ning "aggressively expanded into the American market," but their partnership with Champs Sports fell through along with plans for retail stores across the U.S. The company has since relocated from Portland to Chicago, "where they are in the process of building a strategy that will focus on e-commerce over retail," and that strategy may be "built around a top-10 NBA player as well." Wade, "although not an elite sneaker seller, still commands respect in the American shoe market and would increase Li-Ning's credibility among consumers in the American market" (NIUBBALL.com, 8/19). EXAMINER.com's Juan Martinez noted that for the past few summers, Wade has "already made strides in extending his own brand" in China as part of Jordan Brand. If the reports are true and he signs with Li-Ning, he might now be "looking to cash that equity he has built up with the fans and hope they will follow him to whatever sneaker company he chooses" (EXAMINER.com, 8/17).