October 11, 2012 BY Aaron Kr.
There’s a lot of buzz right now around Dwyane Wade and the recent announcement of his partnership with Chinese footwear brand, Li-Ning and last night, Sneaker News was lucky enough to catch up with the man of the hour for a few quick questions about the move and his new role as Chief Brand Officer of his own sub-brand. With only a short amount of time to get answers, we asked Dwyane some big picture questions regarding the future of the brand and what the impact of this signing can mean for both Li-Ning and NBA sneaker endorsement deals. Continue on after the jump to see what Dwyane had to say about his new endeavor, and stay tuned for more on WADE Brand and the Li-Ning Way of Wade signature model.
Sneaker News: You recently said that you looked at the move to Li-Ning as a chance to be a trail blazer. What’s your ultimate vision for what you and the brand can accomplish while you’re there?
Dwyane Wade: There have been people before me, honestly, that have done similar things. I just had this opportunity at this time when for me, the easiest thing would have been to sign back with Brand Jordan, you know, a company that’s so respected by so many. But for me, I just wanted to go in a different direction. What I was looking for and what Li-Ning was able to provide was something that I never had the opportunity to do before with other brands. And having my own WADE Brand inside of Li-Ning is kinda following that Jordan model in a sense – being the Chief Brand Officer of my own brand, and really being part of a partnership with Mr. Li Ning is something that I don’t take lightly.
I think that was the biggest part of this opportunity – looking at how the game of basketball is so big around the world, and right now I’m going to the biggest market there is and going to the number one shoe company in that market. And trying to do something new, try to do something fresh and something that can be notable.
Sneaker News: So far, most of the higher profile players to have made the jump over to the Asian footwear brands have been nearing the end of their careers, but you’re still clearly in your prime so that’s kind of setting a new and exciting precedent here. Do you think that your signing will influence other top players to look at Li-Ning and other overseas brands in a different way?
Dwyane Wade: You know what, I dont know. What will make people look at Li-Ning and these other brands is the product that they see. One thing I did, is I did my research, and I went on all the blogs and everything and I wanted to hear what people had to say about the Li-Ning product. And once I heard a lot of positive things from a lot of you guys and other bloggers about the product and the last of the shoe and how well it performs and how comfortable it is and all those things, that made me excited about knowing that these guys put out good product, and they’ve been doing it for years now.
(Li-Ning) is just not that known and popular in the States yet, and so I think they have the opportunity and they (other players) will know that they’re getting involved with something that can help them perform as well as any other sneaker, and I think they’ll jump to do it. Right now, there’s a change in the world, and everybody is doing things a little different than just staying with the status quo. That’s what I do. I don’t stick to the status quo and I think this is the time. I think Li-Ning has done a good job of being patient and waiting for hopefully the right person and hopefully I’m that.
A big thanks to Dwyane and Li-Ning for the time.