Associated Press | July 18, 2018
MIAMI — Dwyane Wade has a new contract — with his shoe company.
Wade and the Chinese apparel company Li-Ning announced that the three-time NBA champion has signed a lifetime contract with the brand, which he has represented since 2012. The finalizing of that deal coincided with Wade and the company revealing his latest shoe, the “Way of Wade 7,” at an event in Beijing on Wednesday.
Wade appeared at the event with the company’s CEO and namesake, Li Ning, who is revered in China for his gymnastics success.
“This was something I needed to do from the standpoint of building something,” Wade told The Associated Press in a phone interview from China. “That’s what I set out to do. This word we’ll talk about, legacy, I tried to set out to build a legacy for myself and my family. And after six years of that, it’s cool to be here today.”
Financial details of the contract were not revealed, though it’s believed the total value to Wade could reach tens of millions of dollars.
Wade’s relationship with Li-Ning began in 2012, after he previously was an endorser for Converse and Jordan Brand. In addition to the continued production of basketball and lifestyle apparel, the new deal calls for Wade to take “a greater role” in youth developmental camps and basketball clinics in China and other parts of the world over the coming years.
“Both sides see the benefits of it,” Wade said. “We see the opportunity to do something special.”
The question remains whether Wade, 36, will be wearing his newest sneakers on an NBA court again. He finished last season with the Miami Heat and there have been talks between him and the team about a return, but no decision has been made.
“When I get back from China, I’ll focus on that,” Wade said. “Right now, I’m focused on the game after basketball. Whatever happens in basketball, it happens. I’ve done everything that I can to this point to put myself … in this position I am today, where I can do something that hasn’t been done globally yet. The basketball will take care of itself. I’ll sit down and figure that out once I get back from this tour at some point.”