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Tag Archives: Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade to play in China post-NBA?

March 1, 2013



After a lot of talk about their lack of size, rebounding and and off-and-on play, the Miami Heat are rolling as they enter the month of March. Currently on a 12 game win streak, the defending champs lost only one game in February and have won 17 of their last 19 overall.

LeBron James, whose historic play has been the main headline generator in recent weeks, is obviously a major reason for that. But Dwyane Wade, whose supposed athletic decline was brought up by Charles Barkley earlier in the season, has quietly returned to dominance. How is this for a one month stretch: 23.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.7 steals and a very efficient 53% shooting clip.

Maybe that explains why Wade, who readers should know signed a multi-year deal with Chinese shoe brand, Li-Ning, over the off-season, has a new nickname, “WOW.” (One that LeBron finds corny, on a side note.) The nickname is referring to “Way of Wade,” which is the slogan for his shoe.

Nickname aside, one thing is clear: For Wade to leave Brand Jordan and join up with Li-Ning, there had to be a lot of money on the table. Just how much? Jalen Rose, on the Grantland Network’s “Jalen Rose Show” with David Jacoby, passes along a rumor that Wade’s deal is worth in the hundreds of millions of dollars and that he has an agreement in place to play in China when his NBA career is over.


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Dwyane Wade to Li-Ning looks like a done deal

September 10, 2012

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After spending the last three years with Jordan Brand, Dwyane Wade is splitting ways to join up with Li-Ning.

We wrote about Dwyane Wade possibly moving to Chinese shoe brand, Li-Ning, a few weeks ago after reports surfaced in the States that the two-time NBA champion had grown discontented with Nike and Jordan Brand… and now it looks like the move is coming closer to reality.

On Thursday, SneakerWatch wrote a report saying they have “received confirmation that Dwyane Wade will no longer be repping Jordan Brand. Instead Wade has made his way to Chinese brand Li-Ning in a speculated multi-million dollar deal.” On Friday, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel followed up with a report confirming the news.

Said Wade when asked for an official comment, “We’re still negotiating, until you get to the point where you decide which way to go. There’s many shoe companies that obviously know that I’m up this summer. But I still have the respect for and the obligation and the willingness to sit down and to the company I’m with.”

No official word can be given out by both player and company, but it certainly appears that this deal is done. But is this deal good?

The answer will depend on how you feel about Wade and his current pecking order in the list of NBA superstars. While he’s now been displaced as The Man in Miami by LeBron James, Wade is still one of the most recognizable players in the league and is far and away the biggest name Li-Ning — or any other Chinese shoe company for that matter — has gotten to wear their shoes.

Yet Wade has never been an elite shoe seller, and now on the wrong side of 30 with a playing style that likely won’t age as gracefully, Li-Ning’s investment could also be seen as a risky one, especially considering since they’ve seen sharp declines over the last two years.

Lance Madden over at has a nice piece weighing the pros and cons of Wade’s decision and is definitely worth the read.

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Dwyane Wade to sign with Li-Ning?

August 19, 2012


Dwyane Wade looks like he’s set to join Evan Turner at Li-Ning

Is a Chinese shoe company about to sign a major, in-their-prime NBA superstar? Well, if you believe everything you read on Twitter, it certainly sounds like it.

From a dude who knows a thing or two about sneakers, SoleCollector’s Nick DePaula on Friday:

Hearing from several people that Dwyane Wade will likely leave Jordan Brand and sign with Li-Ning. Huge shift.

The news comes after the word that Wade’s current shoe company, Jordan Brand, has cancelled his Fly Wade 3’s and the two sides are reportedly seriously considering a split, with the eight-time All-Star contemplating a switch to Li-Ning.

This isn’t the first time Li-Ning has dipped its toes into the NBA waters. Former and current endorsers include Shaquille O’Neal, Jose Calderon, Baron Davis, Evan Turner and Hasheem Thabeet. It would be the first time, however, that Li-Ning, or any one of the other Chinese sneaker companies (Peak, Anta, 361 Degrees, Qiaodan) would be able to secure a player of Wade’s pedigree.

For a brand that’s been struggling as of late, the addition of Wade may be what it needs to move past what has been a rocky and unprofitable period.

After the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Li-Ning aggressively expanded into the American market, opening an office in Portland, Oregon. But, their ambitions failed to come to fruition as a partnership with Champs Sports ultimately fell through as did plans for retail stores across the United States. As a result, net profit dropped 65% in 2011 and the company was forced to close down its Portland office last February. The company has since relocated to Chicago, where they are in the process of building a strategy that will focus on e-commerce over retail.

Apparently, that strategy built around a top-10 NBA player as well. Wade, although not an elite sneaker seller, still commands respect in the American shoe market and would increase Li-Ning’s credibility among consumers in the American market. In China, he’s a clear second behind LeBron James in the Miami Heat pecking order, but Wade is still a huge name out here and an agreement with Li-Ning would certainly generate some buzz in the PRC. He’s put in work over in the Chinese market over the last few years, coming over to travel the country on summer promotional tours with Brand Jordan. His name has further been enhanced in China from starring on the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal American squad.

For Wade, a move to Li-Ning could be more lucrative than sticking with Nike, who has James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant all overshadowing him as the brand’s centerpieces. Things would obviously be much different at Li-Ning, where he’d immediately become the front guy for a company based in the fastest growing market in the world. With the Heat threatening to build a dynasty, Wade — and his new kicks — would be in the forefront of a market that some people stands to make another shoe company, Nike, US $4 billion in revenue off of the team’s “not one, not two, not three, not four…” potential championships.

Since entering the NBA in 2003, Wade has been with Nike subsidiary, Converse, and Jordan Brand , the latter of which he has been with since 2009. His deal with Jordan is worth a reported US $10 million a year.

Wade’s potential signing marks another major event in what has been a busy and expensive summer for Li-Ning. In the Chinese basketball world, the company just recently paid CNY 2 billion to become the official outfitter of the Chinese Basketball Association. The deal starts this season and will last through the next five.

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Jordan commercial reminds us why China matters

October 29, 2011


Why China?

It’s a question we immediately tackled when we first started this China/basketball blog back in September 2010. The really short version: Because China matters. Like, really matters.

We believe it because everywhere you go in this country, you see people playing basketball. We believe it because Yao Ming was being nominated for a spot in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame a mere month after retiring. We believe it because random outdoor games between foreigners and Chinese can draw the occasional 100 or so passerbys who are down to watch some free hoops. We believe it so much in fact, that we are in a small minority that believes LeBron James’ “Decision” to take his talents to South Beach was made in part to appeal to what is potentially the largest market in the world, China. As time has gone on, we believe it more and more.

Nike’s newest Jordan Brand commercial reminds us — again — why China is such an important spot on the basketball map.

Featuring the trio of Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, the commercial, dubbed “Love the Game,” aims to show everyone that despite their status perennial NBA All-Stars, these guys are just like the many people around the world who go out and play for the love of basketball. Not for endorsements, not for paychecks, not for fame — for love. Noting more, nothing less.

The commercial is interesting for a number of reasons, but what makes it so effective is its depiction of basketball as a game without sexual, racial, religious or even geographical boundries. Wade is seen in southern Florida hooping in seperate games with teams from the Miami Kiwanis Club League, the Flamingo Senior Rec Center League and the Dade County Municipal League. Paul balls in New Orleans and North Carolina, playing in the NOLA Inter-Parish League and the Bayou Women’s League. Melo does his thing in the northeast, playing in a Williamsburg pick-up run, a Five-Star Basketball Camp and a Jewish Under-40 League in Brooklyn, New York.

The message of the commercial is clear: If you love the game, the game has a spot for you somewhere. As big fans of basketball bringing people together — and as fiendish pick-up basketball junkies — we think that’s pretty cool.

But not surprisingly, it’s the commercial’s last scene that ultimately wins us over for good. After playing separately in their own areas in the U.S., the three meet up in NiuBBall’s home base of Beijing, China for some good old-fashioned nighttime run at the Drum and Bell Tower. And though cool in and of itself, the real reason we love this spot is because it is in harmony with our stomachs.  Keep a close eye on the screen at the 1:41 mark. Look familiar?

As people who live in China, we find the three’s decision to hoop in the Middle Kingdom quite interesting. With Nike’s gigantic travel budget backed by their own large bank accounts, CP3, DWade and Melo could have picked anywhere in the world to play. Yet, they picked China. Why?

Do you really need me to answer?

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Earl Clark leaves Zhejiang Guangsha for “personal reasons”

September 28, 2011


Earl Clark was the first NBA free-agent to sign in the Chinese Basketball Association this year. Now, he’s the first the leave.

Talking to HoopsHype, Earl Clark’s agent, Happy Walters, has confirmed a hoopCHINA report that Clark and his Chinese team, Zhejiang Guanghsa, have gone their separate ways. Walters said Clark is citing “personal reasons” after his girlfriend in the States has become pregnant.

“They have been very cool and cooperative about it because they understand the reasons,” Walters said to HoopsHype.

Devoted readers of NiuBBall shouldn’t be too surprised by the development. The CBA has one of the highest turnover rates for foreign players in the world. Either because of the player’s inability to adapt to the many on and off-court differences between China and the U.S., or because of the team’s dissatisfaction with the player’s performance or the team’s record, imports come and go with regularity from the start of pre-season to the beginning of the playoffs.

“But, wait!” you ask. “I thought there were no out-clauses in China? I thought players can’t just get up an leave whenever they want…”

Technically, yes that’s true. But you forgot to consider an important point — this is the CBA! Despite what the language of a contract may say, there are no such things as “guaranteed contracts” and “no out-clauses.” When it comes down to it, no team is willing to pay and play an import that doesn’t want to be here. With China’s paper thin pool of domestic talent, imports are relied heavily upon to be the focus of the offense and put up huge numbers. If a player doesn’t want to be here, there’s no reason for a team to keep him on board only to see his performance decline on the stat sheet and the team’s losses stack up in the standings.

So why have a no-out clause if it’s not enforced, then? The rule wasn’t put in to guarantee that guys like Earl Clark stay the whole year, but rather more as a preventive measure to avoid the insanity that would have ensued if NBA superstars like Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade had signed in China. In the CBA’s eyes, superstars in China wouldn’t have raised the level of the National Team, something that the government run league takes very seriously. Plus, having big-name players in China for a month or two only to see them jet back to the States once the NBA lockout ended was not a scenario the CBA ever envisioned as positive for the development of its league.

But even after announcing their intentions of passing a no out-clause rule, a few teams still felt confident that they could find creative ways to sidestep it and still attract superstars to China. That in turn led the league to eventually squash any chance of an NBA-to-China exodus by barring all players with active NBA contracts from signing here this season.

So yeah, it’s a little surprising that Clark, who was the first NBA player to sign in China this season, is gone after only a short period of time. But, then again it isn’t. Because in China it’s not just basketball, it’s basketball with Chinese characteristics.

Jon Pastuszek can be followed on Twitter @NiuBBall or on Sina Weibo @NiuBBall.

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Friday Afternoon Bubble Tea

August 5, 2011


It’s Beijing, it’s summer, it’s hot. So cool down with some bubble tea (with ice), chill out and take in these afternoon links.

  • As we recapped yesterday, both Titan Weekly and the Chengdu Daily reported that several CBA teams have offered deals worth over $1 million a month to superstars like Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade. According to the Chengdu Daily, Wade was offered $2 million a month by Zhejiang Guangsha. But, according to a source speaking with NiuBBall, Chinese reports have been exaggerated. “There’s no way any CBA team is going to fork over $2 or $3 million for one player,” said the source. “With these new rules, there’s too much risk.” Guangsha’s GM, Ye Xiangyu, publicly denied the report.
  • John Lucas III, who has played the last two years in Shanghai, out-gunned some dude named Kevin Durant a couple days ago at Rucker Park. Maybe most of the domestic players aren’t anything to write home to the States about, but as we’ve maintained throughout this blog’s soon-to-be one-year existence, the imports here can ball.
  • Taiwanese-American Jeremy Lin is considering playing in Taiwan next year, according to the China Post. Why not China, you ask? Because he has an American passport, that’s why. Taiwan passport-holding players are considered as domestic players in the CBA, but since Lin would have dual-citizenship if he were to obtain his Taiwanese passport, the would be ruled as an American import player. And though Lin can ball well enough to probably warrant a spot on a roster as an import, CBA teams traditionally do not go after young players. So with little interest in China, Lin would be smart to look at his native Taiwan.
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Teams searching for ways to get NBA superstars to China

August 4, 2011


Four days after being hit with a proposed rule that would prevent teams from signing locked-out NBA superstars to month-to-month contracts this season, teams are hitting back with an announcement of their own:

We don’t care about your stinking rule.

Fixed on taking advantage of the rare opportunity of bringing an NBA superstar to China this season, teams are looking at various ways to get around the Chinese Basketball Association’s new rule that would block active NBA players from playing here this season. According to a report published yesterday by Titan Weekly, teams aren’t just moving forward with negotiations to bring superstars to China, they’re going full steam ahead.

That is substantial, because according to the Titan report, several different negotiations between teams and players had already progressed into advanced stages before Sunday’s news about a preventive rule that would disallow teams from including out-clauses in contracts with active NBA players.  Citing an anonymous source with direct knowledge of teams’ dealings, Titan is reporting that several organizations have offered per month contracts to Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki worth over $1 million. The source claims one team has put forth a $1.5 million deal to 2011 NBA Finals MVP.

And that’s not all. During Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul’s week-long Jordan Brand China Tour, which was completed Tuesday in Beijing, several teams were negotiating with the two’s agency, CAA, about a proposed $2,000,000 a month deal. Before news about the rule change was reported on Sunday, talks had become serious enough to warrant discussions about such specifics as providing personal security and arranging housing for family members, according to the source.

Today, the Chengdu Daily reported that Zhejiang Guangsha offered Wade $2 million a month while he was in the team’s home city of Hangzhou during the tour. Team general manager, Ye Xiangyu, who voiced her concern about bringing over NBA players on Sunday, denied that a contract offer had been made. But, when the world learned there would be no way for teams to write in a clause that would allow players to go back to America once the lockout ends, interest cooled considerably from the NBA side as they waited to see how things played out in China.

96 hours after the CBA’s proposed rule, things are indeed playing out. After analyzing the new landscape they’ll be working with as a result of the CBA’s propsed ruling — which is all but guaranteed to go through when officials meet for a policy meeting this month — teams have decided the positives of signing an NBA megastar far outnumber the risks and are commencing forward with negotiations.

Why? At the top of the list is money. Despite the steep price tags attached to these players, owners are confident that there are big returns to be made on their investments. With around seven home games per month for each team, an anonymous general manager told Titan that raising ticket prices alone would cover over half the cost of a $2 million a month contract. Knowing that games would sell-out easily, teams feel they can profit from signing a big name player.

“We can afford the price tag,” said the general manager. “And if you add in some more money from a sponsor, you can easily recover your investment from signing a Nowitzki or another superstar.”

Another reason why teams are unconcerned with the CBA is because many don’t feel the league can enforce their their soon-to-be instated rule. The CBA has one of the highest turnover rates for foreign players in the world. Some players don’t even last two weeks in the country after signing a contract, and its not unusual to see teams switch imports three times in a single season. That begs the question, if a team were to release an active NBA player from his contract, how would that be different than releasing any other import?

The answer is unclear, which is why teams are growing more and more convinced that they can negotiate an under-the-table agreement with players that would guarantee a return to America either after a set period of time or after the lockout ends. To remain in line with CBA policy, the team would then sign an official one-year deal consistent with the CBA’s rules prohibiting an out-clause, which would be turned in to and approved by the league office. After the player left, the team could point to the official contract and state a variety of reasons for why the player left — breach of contract, injury, inability to adapt to China, etc. — and claim no responsibility for the player’s departure. With a league approved contract on file in league headquarters, there wouldn’t be any way for the league to prove foul-play.

“Since word of the new rule got out, the common thinking to get around this has been to write up two contracts, the real one [that has been negotiated with the player] and the one that is officially filed with the CBA,” said another general manager speaking anonymously. “We feel we can absolutely get a deal done with a player privately. Once the lockout ends, we’ll just release him. Then, after he’s gone, we’ll pull up the one-year contract that is on file with the league.”

Yet, perhaps even more important in all of this is the pent up frustration teams have towards the CBA and their policies. Because the CBA is controlled and run by the government, the league is treated as a national interest. Unlike the NBA in the U.S., where profitability comes before all, the development and success of the national team is the number one priority for the CBA’s decision makers. As a result, not one team in the league is profitable currently. Bringing in a Bryant, Wade or Nowitkzi would undoubtedly change that. Plus, the idea of going down in history as the team in China who brought over an NBA superstar for China’s hundreds of millions basketball-crazed fans to enjoy is one that appeals to many owners. It also is an idea that local governments are interested in as well, who are reportedly offering their support to bring an NBA player and the attention he’d bring to their city.

An opportunity to bring players of this magnitude to China is rare, and teams feel like they should be able to take advantage of it.  Several figures inside team’s front offices were quoted as being fed up with the CBA’s handling of the entire situation.

“The NBA is locked out right now, and still every team’s regular season schedule has already come out,” said one disgruntled general manager. “But us? Our season starts in November and the league hasn’t even officially announced policy for foreign players this year. And don’t even talk about an official document either, the league doesn’t even keep in touch with us. We see all of this news on the internet, all of this ‘anonymous figure inside the CBA’ stuff. That’s how we get our information.”

“Let’s back up a step,” said a prominent member of one team’s front office. “Say a team had signed a player earlier and then the CBA came out with this rule. Who would be responsible for the break of contract?”

If there’s one thing to take away from the many complicated pieces involved in making China a lockout destination for the NBA’s best players, it’s that this thing is far from over. But, for now it appears that China is still very much on the table — good news if you’re a player looking to tap into China, and even better news if you’re a Chinese basketball fan.

Jon Pastuszek can be followed on Twitter @NiuBBall or on Sina Weibo @NiuBBall

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Monday Morning Jianbing

August 1, 2011


Starting your day right with China’s favorite street breakfast and a bunch of links… even if it’s almost 1pm. If you woke up late, enjoy your first meal of the day. If you’ve been up for a while, enjoy it as a snack. We promise it’s still really good in the afternoon.

  • Alexander Johnson, who played last season in China for Shanxi, has been charged with marijuana possession. Like Rodney White, who also played last year in China before being arrested for (much bigger) marijuana-related charge, Johnson signed on with a Korean team for next year. We don’t know what this means for both of them in terms of their futures in Korea next year, but if this Korean article is any indication (and if my Google translate is somewhat accurate, not a given), it looks like they may have to find other jobs. (H/T to Andrew Lowman over at Asia Basketball Update for passing that along.)
  • Kobe Bryant’s chances of playing in Turkey this season are “zero,” according to a Yahoo! report. That of course leads to China, where Kobe has reportedly exchanged offers with CBA teams about playing on a month-to-month basis. According to the report, he’d be allowed to go back to the Lakers at the end of the lockout, but as we learned yesterday, the Chinese Basketball Association might not be OK with the idea of their league becoming a temporary haven for locked-out NBA players.
  • How does Carmelo Anthony’s Panda-posing match-up against Kevin Durant’s? Hardwood Paroxysm breaks it down. A must read for fans of pandas and basketball. ‘Melo, along with Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade, is on the Jordan Brand Flight Tour, a four-city China tour that promotes the sport and the brand through various appearances and events. SLAMonline has pictures.
  • And speaking of Stephon Marbury… he’s being sued by a bank for $16 million for not paying back a loan his Starbury shoe company took out back in 2006.
  • In response to our report two days ago, Foshan management has publicly denied that they’ve made a $200,000 a month offer to current Memphis Grizzlies center, Hamed Haddadi. They admit, however, that there has been contact between the team and Haddadi’s agent.
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Monday Morning Jianbing

July 25, 2011


Starting your day right with China’s favorite street breakfast and a bunch of links…

After another long hiatus from dependable internet (basketball tournament in Yunnan, yes there’s a post in the works) NiuBBall is back in action, and this time for good. Even though we’re in the midst of a classic dirty, smoggy, hot Beijing summer, we’re not planning on going anywhere too crazy for a while. So let’s get it started back up again with  some familiar Monday morning links to munch on.
  • While U.S.-based writers have been writing about Yao’s immeasurable legacy on NBA and international basketball, Dan Levin for the New York Times uncovers the bleak post-Yao reality on the ground in China. We don’t think the National Team is a total lost cause — Donewald has done a good job starting the transition — but, with no other NBA talent outside of Yi Jianlian, the Chinese may on the way down. Here’s a pretty good recap of what’s being said in China about Yao’s retirement from over at Bloomberg. Here’s my take on the situation over at City Weekend Shanghai.
  • Dee Brown, who played last year in China with Qingdao Double Star, is off to Italy.
  • The Jordan Brand Flight Tour is set to go off in Hong Kong on Tuesday. The four-city tour will feature appearances by Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony. And as part of the tour, Nike will be introducing three new special China Tour kicks for Chinese sneakerheads’ shoe-buying pleasure.
  • Assuming Mamba loses, and assuming everyone’s eardrums are still intact, what would be the rubber match for the Jay Chou-Kobe Bryant competition? We suggest the two settle the score like real Chinese men: Sitting outside bareback with lots of yangrou chuanr and lots of beer. Last man standing wins.
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Nike has 4 billion reasons to root for the Heat

May 21, 2011


The NBA is a superstar’s league, which means that it is likely going to be the Miami Heat’s league, possibly as early as this June.

While a lot of people back in the States are hoping that ‘Bron ‘Bron and the SuperFriends remain ringless for a long time, the people at Nike are most definitely not.  According to an article in Bloomberg posted online on Thursday, if/when the Heat win a title, the swoosh will stand to make an estimated $4 billion in revenue in the most important and hotly contested hoops market in the world, China.

How they came up with $4 billion, I don’t know.  I just know that it’s a crapton of money — more than the annual GDP of Rhianna’s home country, Barbados and as Henry Abbott on TrueHoop points out, about as much as the NBA’s entire revenue as a global business.

There are other crazy numbers that are flown around in the article.  China-hand, Terry Rhoads, says its “easy to see” Nike’s China revenue reaching the $6 billion mark by the year 2020.  Riding James and Kobe Bryant as their marketing strategy, Nike made $1.96 in revenue last year.

Though not as popular as Bryant, whose distinct low-top shoes can be seen on Chinese feet everywhere in Beijing, James is still the favorite player of many of the country’s hundreds of millions of basketball fans.  Unlike in the U.S., where James is openly reviled by some for airing his free-agency decision on national television, James’ image has still largely remained intact inside the PRC.  Though NBA diehards know about “The Decision” and all of the controversy that surrounded it, most feel unattached to it.

As a friend once said to me, “Why should I care about LeBron’s relationship with Cleveland?  I live in China.  I don’t even know where Cleveland is.”

James said he “doesn’t care what [winning] does marketing-wise.”  As we remain more convinced than ever that The Decisionwas based around conquering the Chinese market one day, we respectfully disagree.

In April, LeBron has put himself in an even better position to command China and the rest of the Asian market by buying a share in Liverpool FC, one of Europe’s biggest and most distinguished soccer clubs.  For an athlete who has admitted his main goal is to become a “global icon,” the Liverpool move makes a ton of sense in realizing that ambition.

None of these billions can happen, however, without the Heat winning first.  Chinese fans are all about winning and being the best, which is why they remain obsessed with Michael Phelps, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and China’s gold medal count in the Olympics.  Without a title, James will still remain quite popular here.  But, if he and Nike has any ambitions of taking over this important and lucrative market, the Heat will have to be throwing a championship parade — not a “Yes. We. Did.” — in downtown Miami sometime around the middle of June.

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More evidence that The Decision was all about China?

April 15, 2011


Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images AsiaPac

The case for LeBron James taking his talents to South Beach in order to appeal to the biggest market in the world, China, might have grown with the announcement that James’ LRMR Branding & Marketing are formally partnering up with John Henry and Tom Werner’s Fenway Sports Group “to become the exclusive world-wide representative” for the Miami Heat forward.  As part of the deal which includes world-wide representation for the two-time NBA MVP, James will also receive a minority ownership stake in FSG’s newly purchased English soccer club, Liverpool.  FSG also owns the Boston Red Sox.

One can question James’ loyalty to his fans, but nobody can question his commitment to following through on his promise to become “a global icon.” And as the Wall Street Journal points out, Liverpool, also have ambitions of being a global soccer club, specifically a global soccer club with a large footing in the Asian market.  The Reds are sponsored by Hong Kong-listed bank, Standard Chartered, who recently expressed their desire for the club to go out and sign high-profile Asian players in order to appeal to fans in the world’s most populous continent.

Already a part of Nike, one of the most China-savvy companies on the planet, James’ move to join up with FSG and Liverpool further announces his beliefs that the Middle Kingdom is fit for… well, a King.  Maybe he miscalculated fan reaction in the States to The Decision, but when it comes to expanding his brand in China, James knows what he’s doing. Which leads us to think even more that linking up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami wasn’t about the American market, but rather billions of potential consumers in China and elsewhere.

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