It's been about a year since Dwyane Wade switched out his Air Jordans for a pair of Li-Nings. With his second NBA season with the Chinese sports brand already underway, D-Wade is finally bringing his signature kicks to the Americas.
Today, Li-Ning dropped the Way of Wade 2.0 on the Wade Brand's updated website. Being that this was the first time WOW kicks are available to the masses in U.S., D-Wade did a conference call with media this morning to talk the release of the "Overtown" colorway of the 2.0s and how his current progress with the brand is going.
On having the first Wow 2.0 to drop in the U.S. be the "Overtown" colorway:
"I want my first shoe that hits the market to really represent the community. Fortunately for me, I ‘ve had 10 plus years in Miami. Overtown is obviously one of the most storied communities in the city and I just wanted to pay homage to that. My foundation, Wade’s World is based off of what Alonzo Mourning has done in Overtown. I’m excited that I get to shed some light in that community by naming this shoe after that."
On finally bringing the shoes to the US Market:
"Being this was my first year with the brand, I didn’t know what to expect. No one knew what to expect. Obviously, when I left the Jordan Brand there was a lot of negative things being said because I was going to a China brand. We weren’t heavy last year because we didn’t have a plan, so I wanted to come back and give my fans who support Li-Ning and support myself the opportunity to have these shoes. We worked out a plan to do things at our own pace and at our own scale to give our fans in America and Canada what people in China have access to."
On leaving a Jordan Brand to work with Li-Ning:
"For me, I wanted to do something that would energize me in a sense of being creative. I felt I didn’t have the opportunity in my other brands to do that. A lot of athletes don’t get the chance to put the stamp on their sneakers that they want to when it comes to designing every aspect of it. I got an opportunity. So for me, it was the right time. I’ve been under Nike’s umbrella for nine years and I’ve been able to accomplish a lot of things like having my name on a sneaker. But now I want to take it to the next level. In my life, sneakers are a big part of it and Li-Ning was the right situation for me. I’m just trying to do my best with it and show kids they can make their own way and don’t be afraid to make a change. It was the best decision for me, not only business-wise, but also career wise."
On building Li-Ning and the Wade Brand:
“I came into brand Wade with a three-year plan. In three years I want to build it out. We had success last year, with players in the NBA starting to look elsewhere and starting to look at our product. I was able to bring Dorrell Wright in and Will Bynum. We just want to grow from there. I know these guys are the guys who are going to be the walking billboard for the Li-Ning brand and I want to make sure that they're molded from the standpoint of what I want it to be. I want to get a team of guys that can serve this brand when I’m done and carry the brand when I’m done with the game of basketball."
On being able to wear his basketball sneakers off the court:
"It’s key. You’ve got to want to rock your own shoes. If you don’t want to wear your own sneakers off the court, why would anyone else want to? That’s my mentality. If I’m making sneakers I want to make the ones that perform on the court and can be versatile enough that people can wear. I think with the Wade 1 and the Encore, I was able to pull it off. I want people to be able to be comfortable and confident that these are great shoes to wear with any outfit.”
On exclusive colorways he'll wear this NBA season:
"I’ve got so many options that it’s kind of mindblowing. I was the walking billboard last year, just coming up with things on the fly right before the season. This year, I’m able to be a little bit more ahead of it. For Christmas, everybody’s seen that I’ve got a green shoe out, but I’ve got three other options as well. I haven’t even decided which one I want to wear for the All Star. I’ll have three or four options. I’m going to lean toward what my fans want to see and sometimes I might break out something crazy like the 'Dynasty' shoe. I’m going to keep switching it up. With this brand I have the ability to be able to do that."