Saturday, July 18, 2009
D-Wade going to Jordan Brand?
NBA scoring champion Dwyane Wade is changing shoes, making the switch from Converse to Nike's Jordan Brand.
Nike announced Friday that the star Miami Heat guard will now be representing the Jumpman label, joining the likes of Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Derek Jeter.
Wade had three years remaining on his deal with Converse, which had him as the centrepiece of its attempt to reinvigorate the company's once-thriving basketball business. That relationship seemed rocky when the 2006 NBA finals MVP rarely wore his most recently released signature shoe, the “Wade 4,” last season, favouring an older model instead.
The Jordan Brand is a 12-year-old division of Nike, which also owns Converse.
“I grew up on the south side of Chicago idolizing Michael Jordan and have worked hard to achieve the same success that he's had on the court,” Wade said. “I have enormous respect for this brand.”
Wade told the Associated Press that he inquired about switching allegiances from Converse to Jordan's brand before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, doing so, he said, out of concern over Converse's long-term viability in the basketball marketplace.
The 2008 request was declined, but earlier this month, Wade said he was “almost positive” a switch would happen.
“I didn't want to be in the Converse brand anymore because it seemed like they didn't know what to do with me,” Wade told The AP.
Coming off a year where the Heat went from 15 to 43 wins and Wade won his first scoring title, Nike apparently agreed that the switch now made sense.
“I'm thrilled to have Dwyane Wade join the Team Jordan family,” Michael Jordan said.
The deal was finalized Thursday afternoon. Complete terms were not released, although it was believed that the new deal, at minimum, matches the remaining three years on the Converse contract.
It's a significant add to Wade's endorsement resume, which already includes deals with T-Mobile and Gatorade.
“I want to go global,” said Wade, who is planning a trip to China later this summer for a series of business meetings and appearances. “It's something I feel like I have to do. I want to continue to build my brand.”
Wade made a cryptic reference to the move on his Twitter feed late Thursday night, saying he had “good news coming.....stay tuned.” Dozens of people quickly starting pleading for more information, even Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick, who inquired via Twitter if that was Wade's way of saying he had agreed to a contract extension with the Heat.
The move wasn't totally unexpected: As recently as last week, Wade was at a charity event with children in Miami wearing apparel featuring the Jumpman logo, prompting one of the kids he was meeting with to ask if he still was aligned with Converse.
Wade donned a blue pair of Converse sneakers at the Zo's Summer Groove game he co-hosted Sunday with Alonzo Mourning.
That'll likely be his last appearance in that brand. A “Wade 5” shoe was to be released by Converse in the coming weeks, although it now seems likely that orders from retailers for that model will be cancelled.