Old story: Money talks
And, yet, the reality is that if Jordan Brand was willing to re-up with Wade, Wade likely would be continuing in the Nike division.
What Li-Ning was able to provide that Nike did not need to offer is an equity stake in the brand. Such a shoe-agreement model could impact how the likes of James, Dwight Howard or Derrick Rose handle business going forward.
The reality is that Wade found his best deal half a world away, so he took it, just as Shaquille O'Neal had worked with Li-Ning previously. Nothing new here, just the old story of how money talks.
Experiment will fail
Remember the "Starbury One"? Didn't think so. Remember Steve & Barry's? No problem; the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008.
Dwyane Wade signing with a Chinese shoe company is an anomaly along the lines of the "Starbury One," the $14.98 shoe that Stephon Marbury endorsed from Steve & Barry's in 2006. That's not to say Wade's Chinese shoe company will make cheap shoes. It is to say the major shoe companies are so entrenched in today's culture and lifestyle that detours like the one Wade took recently typically end up where players started — in swooshes or stripes.
What Wade is trying sounds all well and good now, but look for the experiment to end. And look for few to follow.
Huge potential in China
Dwyane Wade's decision to sign with the shoe company Li-Ning is yet another sign that NBA stars will seek endorsements from Chinese companies.
This is all about common sense. Why wouldn't a star player sell his endorsement to the highest bidder, even if the company is based overseas? Wade isn't the first NBA player to sign with a Chinese shoe company, anyway.