PROs & CONs of Dwyane Wade leaving Jordan Brand for Li-Ning
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It seems like the mass public thinks Wade is crazy for leaving Jordan. I think it’s a big risk but a great opportunity worth taking. Lance Madden at Forbes put together a nice article about the pros and cons of Wade’s decision to take his style to China. Here’s an excerpt
PRO: Wade gets independence from LeBron James. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are best friends and they feed off of each other tremendously on the court. But from a marketing perspective, having Wade in a pair of shoes other than Nikes could be beneficial to him. James doesn’t rep Jordan Brand, but his self-branded shoes and Jordan Brand shoes are both still under the Nike umbrella. Having Wade stand out for a new brand could help sales.
CON: Li-Ning isn’t doing so hot as a company lately. The company had a big push this summer at the Olympics, but as of June, Li-Ning shares had dropped more than 60 percent in a year. In July CEO Zhang Zhi Yong quit. It seems Li-Ning needs Wade a lot more than the player needs the company.
PRO: Li-Ning would still dish out a lot of money. The Chinese brand brought Shaq into its family, but he was on the tail end of his career at that point. Baron Davis endorses Li-Ning, but even though he’s a great player and has a good amount of star power, he too has the majority of his career behind him. Li-Ning wants a huge star. They could get that from Wade. And they’d pay for him handsomely.
CON: The Jordan Brand is stable. Michael Jordan and Nike changed the sneaker game forever. Knight is now a Hall of Famer, officially, largely because of the boom Jordan caused in SneakerLand. The Jordan Brand has the most iconic name in basketball tied to it, and its success is not going away for a long time, if ever.
PRO: Chinese brands aren’t all that bad. Yes, Nike owned the gold-winning U.S. Olympic basketball team. But even though he wore Nikes during The Games, there was one player on the team who reps a non-Nike brand during the regular season. Kevin Love endorses Chinese-based company 361 Degrees. He is allowed to “double dip” thanks to a clause in his contract. Perhaps Wade will get a similar clause. Many players, namely Kobe Bryant, do better with sneaker sales overseas than in the U.S. Could Wade follow the same trend? Time will tell.