Originally posted on Around the Arc  |  Last updated 3/23/13
For the past decade, Dwayne Wade has been the quintessential NBA superstar. He is explosive and exciting on the court, a fan favorite off it, and he is even one of the few popular media targets painted positively. His name is one of the most recognizable amongst current players, and his international popularity has only increased since he teamed up with fellow superstar LeBron James in South Beach.  Thus, logically you would think Wade would be a lock for serious shoe sales. Players of his caliber and level of fanfare usually have a bunch of brands begging the player to put their name on a product. Jordan, Carmelo, Kobe, and LeBron can all be associated with a shoe line. Wade’s explosive ability and popularity would seemingly make him an ideal player to push products. A cool nickname like “Flash” seemed to work in his favor as well, as you could almost envision Nike building a line, complete with an annual signature shoe like the ‘Nike Air Wade’, around his ‘Flash’ persona.However, throughout his career, for whatever reason, Wade has been unable to carry a signature shoe.He started off with Converse, which hasn’t been hip with the NBA crowd since the days of Dr. J. Not surprisingly, the deal didn’t last too long, and you would be hard pressed to find any remaining pairs still floating around. Next up for Wade was a stint with Jordan Brand that by all accounts should have been successful. Since MJ retired, the Jordan Brand has elevated itself to the top of the athletic shoe game, and has spawned successful lines for other superstars such as Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony. Many thought the high-flying Wade would be a great fit with the air-associated Jordan Brand, but for whatever reason, the shoes didn’t sell. Sure, the Air Jordan Fly Wade could been seen on shelves for a couple seasons, but they didn’t create the buzz expected from a superstar’s shoe. So, before this season started, Wade was on the move again. For a guy that has only called one NBA franchise home for the entirety of his career, he sure has sampled some shoes. This season however, Wade did the unexpected, and signed with Chinese brand, Li-Ning, little known on this side of the sea. 76ers’ forward Evan Turner is one of the few who sports the shoes in the League at this point, but the brand is looking to break into the NBA.It was a monetary move for Wade, who will be benefiting from a nice contract from the Chinese apparel company, so maybe it makes sense in that regard. However, it still seems kind of strange to have one of the NBA’s biggest stars sporting a little known foreign footwear company, rather than building their own brand.
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