When it was officially announced last week that Dwyane Wade signed with Chinese company Li-Ling, the world took notice. Though the move was as Wade stated "the worst kept secret," Li-Ning giving him his own brand was not. With lots of creative input and less internal competition, Wade has the opportunity to change the game to his liking. Check out a few ways we think he and Li-Ling can do so.
Even Playing Field
adidas and Nike (including Jordan) have had most high profile NBA players on lock for years. Sure, there have been some anomalies, but think of the last superstar athlete you can recall who eschewed the three stripes, check or the Jumpman, we'll wait.
Dwayne Wade's mutual parting of the ways with Brand Jordan, may open up the game, not only for overseas companies like Peak and Li-Ning but also for smaller companies who may not be able to offer the big dollars but can offer freedom and creative control that big companies don't offer.
With his reportedly 8-figure deal (neither side will confirm nor deny), Wade is able to have his own brand under the Li-Ning umbrella; he also has a direct line to 300+ million basketball fans in China. This is something he probably never would have been able to attain at Jordan.
If the experiment works out for Wade and Li-Ning, the next number one lottery pick or superstar baller will at least explore the option of going with a sneaker company that isn’t based in Portland.
Expand Athlete Endorsed Brands Beyond Shorts & Hoodies
Sure, MJ has been branding daddy jeans and awful off-court shoes for a while now but nobody really wears that stuff. Love it or hate it, Wade's off the court style is unique. As the Chief Brand Officer for Wade Brand, conventional wisdom says that Wade will input some of his personal style into both the on-court and off-court apparel.
“I'm into fashion and when it comes to apparel, my team here tried to give the apparel some of my personality as far as what I like to wear and how I like to wear things," says Wade. "From what I've I already seen, I like the quality of the material they're using and I like the style. Going forth I think it will be something that fits [me] a lot more than my previous endorsers."
Just stay away from the man purses please, D.
Give Sneakerheads A New Shoe To Covet
Retro Jordan's, Nike Foamposites, Lebron X's and KDIV's are all dope shoes in their own right, but how many iterations of the same silhouette will be released before heads get bored and move on. adidas has some steam with the new D Rose 3 shoe, but we say the more the merrier.
Wade's first signature shoe is nothing groundbreaking, from a design perspective but simple style cues such as the W shaped lace lock and the fashion forward tongue are good signs that designer Eric Miller is thinking outside the box.
More All-Star Fanfare
Back before a new Air Jordan sneaker dropped every Saturday, the NBA All-Star Weekend was a highlight for any sneakerhead because that is when Mike unveiled the latest J. Fast-forward to the new millennium and shoe companies use the weekend to hype special editions like they are going out of style. (can you say Galaxy Foamposite "riot").
With Wade's shoe not being available at stateside brick and mortar retailers until first quarter 2013, we can expect a big push and some kind of special Wade 1 to be released right alongside the big dogs.
Open Up Asia To More Players
As the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing proved, Kobe and Lebron are huge stars in the world's most populated country. The NBA is a global brand, but David Stern and company only push a select few. There are other exciting, charismatic NBA players who would benefit from the same look.
Wade says he will look at potentially signing other players, who he believes push boundaries, to his new brand. Perhaps Wade's immense popularity in China will eventually open up doors for other stars to tap the billion strong population.