In 2009, Jordan Brand signed on Dwyane Wade to its exclusive roster of top-shelf athletes – a potential industry-shattering power-move that had the makings of an interesting shake-up in the signature basketball athlete plateau. Wade was quickly employed as the leader of the Jordan Brand pack (already boasting Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul) as he was given the head-turning role as the first pitchman since Michael Jordan himself to rock the Air Jordan flagship sneaker on the NBA floor. Jordan Brand, known for its series of inspiring advertisement campaigns, pulled out all the stops and built up the hype with the ‘Nightmares Never Sleep’ and ‘Agent D3′ series to promote the Air Jordan 2010 and 2011 respectively, knowing full well that the two sides could team up to create a new generation of Jordan followers. It was a match made in heaven – a dream sequence realized thanks to Jordan Brand and Dwyane Wade’s efforts.
In May of 2011, Jordan Brand introduced the Jordan Fly Wade signature series and priced the first model, the Fly Wade, above the Melo and CP3 models. This elevated price indirectly affirmed that the Wade was the top-shelf Jordan Brand model, and JB worked quickly to put forth a sequel in the Jordan Fly Wade 2, arriving in December of that same year. However, what appeared to be a flourishing partnership between Wade and the brand built by his idol never really got beyond the neophytic stages; three years of cultivating this outstanding duo resulted in not much more than mediocre sales numbers, a lawsuit involving Wade’s logo that resulted in a logo re-design for the sequel, Wade openly deferring to teammate (and perhaps his counterpart at Nike) LeBron James, and most importantly, a general lack of enthusiasm by the group that mattered most – the consumers.
Since the Wade 2 launch in last December, not much more came out from the Fly Wade channels (save the energetic colorway release here and there) and by late August 2012, rumors of Wade’s departure at the end of his Jordan Brand contract, which officially terminated on September 30th), and an impending jump to Li-Ning began circulating. All three parties (Wade, Jordan Brand, and Li-Ning) stayed mum on the topic, but by the end of the month, the cat was officially out of the bag. Now, with Wade’s ties to the Jumpman officially severed, Li-Ning is ready to announce its partnership with Wade tomorrow in a media event in China, but expect a lot more from this partnership than just a signature shoe; a parallel line of Wade-branded merchandise is also potentially in the works. A lot has transpired in a short span of three years, so check out the rise and fall in this retrospective of Wade’s time with Jordan Brand and let us know if you think the Li-Ning x Wade partnership has the potential for growth in the States.
In July of 2009, Dwyane Wade signs with Jordan Brand. – FULL STORY
A first look at Wade on an NBA court in Jordans – the Air Jordan 16.5. – FULL STORY
Jordan Brand unveils the ‘Nightmares Never Sleep’ ad campaign, featuring the Air Jordan 2010. – FULL STORY
Dwyane Wade debuts the Air Jordan 2010 at the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, taking home the MVP trophy in the process. – FULL STORY
A month later, we get a first look at Wade in the Air Jordan 2010 ‘Welcome Home’ PE. – FULL STORY
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