Dwyane Wade To Officially Sign With Chinese Shoe Company Li-Ning
Chinese sportswear brand Li-Ning will announce Wednesday morning in China that it has "officially signed" NBA Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. Wade said, "This is a great opportunity for me. I can either choose to stick to the status quo or be a trailblazer." It is certainly Li-Ning's "greatest effort to break through" in the basketball business, both in China and the U.S. In the past, Chinese shoe brands like Li-Ning, Anta and Peak have "gained a reputation" of signing NBA players at the end of their careers. But the Wade move is a "departure from the strategy." The exact financial terms of the deal are not known, "but it's a multimillion dollar agreement and will last until Wade retires and into his early retirement." Wade's Agent Henry Thomas said that Wade will also get "significant" equity in the company, something that he would not be able to get with Nike or adidas. Li-Ning Vice GM of Basketball Brian Cupps said that the brand "will first unveil a Wade shoe, with an apparel collection to follow." Cupps said that the immediate sales opportunity is "greater in China, where Wade and the brand are already known, versus in the U.S., where brand awareness is the first goal of the partnership" (ESPN, 10/9).