Dwyane Wade posing with Li-Ning
The Hoop Doctors wasn’t the only media outlet that reported on this time and time and time again, this story was everywhere so while it was at an all-time high, I was able to secure a spot on a conference call with Dwyane Wade while he was over in China for a pre-season game with his defending champion Miami Heat basketball team and to make the official announcement.
“This is the worst keep secret in the world I think” said Dwyane Wade when speaking to him about the sneaker deal between himself and Li-Ning and with good reason. The buzz behind him leaving Jordan Brand was huge and has been broadcasted all over the internet for weeks and the choice to team up with a company that, up until now, has been relatively unknown to the general public has been deemed very noteworthy by the media.
“First of all I became familiar with the brand when I played with Shaq when he signed with Li-Ning” is how Dwyane Wade began our conversation yesterday after he make the official announcement of the partnership the Chinese sportswear brand. He went on to mention how he took more of a notice in the brand at the 2008 Olympics which were also held in Beijing where he watched the Opening Ceremonies the same year brand president and Olympic gold medalist Li Ning light the torch.
Involvement in the design process is very important to Dwayne Wade. The circle logo that is seen on the bottom of the outsole and on various pieces of apparel Wade has been seen wearing around he actually designed. Wade mentioned that he prefers a minimalist sneaker that was simple and clean but also during the designing process aimed to put his sneakers in the position to be a classic.
The first Dwyane Wade sneaker releasing is called the Li-Ning Way of Wade and will be the one he laces up tonight against the Clippers over in Beijing in one of the pairs from the China Pack that features two separate pairs but I was assured that it will be the first of many.
“A partnership with Mr. Li Ning is something that I don’t take very lightly” -Dwyane Wade
He does not want you to look at this as a simple endorsement, rather as a partnership. Over the phone, Wade acknowledged the Jordan Brand inspiration for how his subsidy inside of Li-Ning saying that WADE Brand will have a similar model to the Air Jordan line.
“I watch a little bit more college basketball now” Wade said when acknowledging that as he begins WADE Brand and being a partner with Li-Ning also saying “My job is bigger than just wearing sneakers”. He went on to touch on a point I raised earlier in the day in regards to who would be the first WADE Brand-sponsored athlete by simply saying “I keep an eye out.”
Li-Ning Way of Wade – ‘China’ Pack
In just a brief conversation, it was clear to me that longevity is the goal for WADE Brand and this new partnership with Li-Ning. He did seemed unconcerned though about whether or not other NBA athletes would make a sudden switch to Li-Ning or any other foreign brand which is understandable but when a talent the caliber of Dwyane Wade makes a business move to this magnitude, both players and consumers alike stand up and take notice. The sun definitely looks to be rising in Dwyane Wade’s favor.
Follow our Kicks section on Twitter: @THDKicks