Chicago-bred NBA MVPs Michael Jordan and Dwyane Wade will share one less commonality: the reigning world champ has jumped ship to Chinese shoe brand Li-Ning.
Following three years sporting Nike's Jordan brand and a previous six with brother label Converse, Wade shockingly opted out of his relationship with Jordan and Nike when his contract expired in September, according to the Portland Business Journal.
"It’s just at that time," Wade told reporters at Miami Heat training camp in advance of Sunday's preseason opener against Boston. "We went our separate ways. But I’m still honored to have represented my favorite player of all time and his brand."
Wade was secretive when asked about partnering with the embattled Chinese footwear company, but did cop to a "new deal." Teammate Shane Battier, who already had a deal with Li-Ning rival Peak, promptly revealed all.
"I told him, 'Let the friendly competition begin, Peak vs. Li-Ning," Battier told the Sun Sentinel, which noted Wade coyly removed his shoes before media at practice could see. "I stand by my brand. I was a pioneer over there, so it's good to have a fellow brother over there."
Wade is expected to officially confirm the new partnership with Li-Ning, by far its highest-profile signing, when the Heat arrive in Shanghai next week to take on the Los Angeles Clippers.
But Miami's favorite no. 3 couldn't resist a tease: he later posted this sneak preview of his new signature kicks to Twitter via Instagram: