Originally written on Sports Business Digest  |  Last updated 10/12/12
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Dwyane Wade is taking his talents a little farther than his all-star teammate, Lebron James. Wade has signed an endorsement deal with China's leading sportswear company, Li-Ning Company. Wade and Li-Ning will co-create an athletic footwear and apparel brand called WADE. Li-Ning is looking to use WADE as the foundation piece to the company's international basketball strategy, and their foothold into American consumer's households. "I am so proud to welcome Dwyane Wade to the LI-NING family," said Li Ning, Founder of LI-NING Company. "Dwyane is a superstar for his athletic achievements, and also for the way he carries himself on and off the NBA court. I have come to understand what motivates him, what he cares about, and the personal and professional path he wants to take in the coming years. There are remarkable similarities between Dwyane and myself in this regard, and I could not be more excited about developing a brand with him that speaks to those shared views. At the same time, the WADE brand will deliver the high quality and performance characteristics consumers have come to expect of our Company." Wade will serve as Li-Ning's Chief Brand Officer and will be responsible for the creative direction of all WADE products. He will also provide input and approval for any future licensees and endorers of the WADE brand ala Michael Jordan's Jordan brand. "I first visited China in 2008, when I competed in the Beijing Olympics, and was deeply moved by the country's genuine passion for basketball," said Wade. "I have been blessed with an opportunity to make an impact on the game in the United States, and I look forward to now being active with the sport on a more global level. I am honored to join forces with LI-NING and grow the game, beginning in China, which is home to more basketball players – 200 million – than any other country in the world." Wade will wear two specially-created Li-Ning branded basketball shoes this week while the Heat play in Beijing and Shanghai against the Clippers. Wade's agreement was brokered by his agents at CAA. via (Li-Ning Press Release)    
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