Miami Heat Miami Heat’s Dwyane Wade no longer endorsing Jordan Brand
By Joseph Goodman
Heat star Dwyane Wade will not be wearing Jordan Brand shoes this season.
Wade’s three-year contract with the brand expired in September and, instead of renewing his endorsement deal with the company, Wade has parted ways with Michael Jordan’s branch of Nike. Wade is expected to announce a new deal with Chinese shoe company Li-Ning in the coming days, possibly when the Heat travels to China next week for two games against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I really can’t comment on my new deal yet,” Wade said. “But what I can say is that I did mutually part ways with the Jordan umbrella, with Jordan and Converse, but we have parted ways and I’ll be moving on.”
Beginning in 2009, Wade’s signature shoe for Jordan Brand, Fly Wade, was a prominent piece of the company’s footwear line. Wade also was the face of the Air Jordan series. When Jordan Brand failed to launch a Fly Wade 3 in the summer, speculation grew that his contract would not be renewed. It ended Monday.
Wade, who slipped into a pair of flip-flops before addressing reporters Tuesday, spoke respectfully of his time with Converse and Jordan Brand, which are both owned by Nike. Wade was with Converse for six years before moving over to Jordan Brand.
“We had a great three years,” Wade said of his time with Jordan Brand. “It’s just at that time. We went our separate ways, but I’m still honored to have represented my favorite player of all time and his brand and the opportunity that I was given. So I’m not disappointed at all.”
The Heat leaves for China on Sunday, and Wade probably will officially introduce his new shoe in Beijing. Li-Ning is an established brand in China, but its net profits have plummeted in recent months. Free agent guard Baron Davis once was endorsed by Li-Ning.
Wade will be the second player on the Heat’s roster to be sponsored by a Chinese shoe company. Shane Battier is already a well-known pitchman in China for Peak Sports Products. Battier’s signature shoe, Peak Battier VII, features a bat-like logo on the tongue. Battier says he’s known as Batman in China.
“I welcome Dwyane Wade to the Chinese shoe family,” Battier said. “This is one of the only things where I probably have more experience than he does. As an All-NBA guy, he’s had access to a lot of things, but I was a pioneer over there. But it’s good to have my fellow brother over there.”
Wade, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery, practiced Tuesday and said his body responded well. He is expected to miss the preseason opener against Atlanta on Saturday but didn’t rule out playing in China. The Heat plays its preseason scrimmage at 7 p.m. Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
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