Heat star Dwyane Wade will not be wearing Jordan Brand shoes this season.
Wade’s three-year contract with the brand expired in September and, instead of renewing his endorsement deal with the company, Wade has parted ways with Michael Jordan’s branch of Nike. Wade is expected to announce a new deal with Chinese shoe company Li-Ning in the coming days, possibly when the Heat travels to China next week for two games against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I really can’t comment on my new deal yet,” Wade said. “But what I can say is that I did mutually part ways with the Jordan umbrella, with Jordan and Converse, but we have parted ways and I’ll be moving on.”
Beginning in 2009, Wade’s signature shoe for Jordan Brand, Fly Wade, was a prominent piece of the company’s footwear line. Wade also was the face of the Air Jordan series. When Jordan Brand failed to launch a Fly Wade 3 in the summer, speculation grew that his contract would not be renewed. It ended Monday.
Wade, who slipped into a pair of flip-flops before addressing reporters Tuesday, spoke respectfully of his time with Converse and Jordan Brand, which are both owned by Nike. Wade was with Converse for six years before moving over to Jordan Brand.
“We had a great three years,” Wade said of his time with Jordan Brand. “It’s just at that time. We went our separate ways, but I’m still honored to have represented my favorite player of all time and his brand and the opportunity that I was given. So I’m not disappointed at all.”
The Heat leaves for China on Sunday, and Wade probably will officially introduce his new shoe in Beijing. Li-Ning is an established brand in China, but its net profits have plummeted in recent months. Free agent guard Baron Davis once was endorsed by Li-Ning.
Wade will be the second player on the Heat’s roster to be sponsored by a Chinese shoe company. Shane Battier is already a well-known pitchman in China for Peak Sports Products. Battier’s signature shoe, Peak Battier VII, features a bat-like logo on the tongue. Battier says he’s known as Batman in China.
“I welcome Dwyane Wade to the Chinese shoe family,” Battier said. “This is one of the only things where I probably have more experience than he does. As an All-NBA guy, he’s had access to a lot of things, but I was a pioneer over there. But it’s good to have my fellow brother over there.”
Wade, who is recovering from offseason knee surgery, practiced Tuesday and said his body responded well. He is expected to miss the preseason opener against Atlanta on Saturday but didn’t rule out playing in China. The Heat plays its preseason scrimmage at 7 p.m. Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena.
“I’m just going day to day now," Wade said.
LeBron James isn’t upset with Mario Chalmers. Not yet anyway. But James joked after practice that if Chalmers wants less grief from James this season then Chalmers would have to grow up.
Chalmers mentioned recently that he wouldn’t mind it if James toned down his on-court admonishments this season every time Chalmers made a mistake. Heat fans are well familiar with James’ “Chalmers face.” James didn’t have much sympathy for Chalmers on Tuesday.
“If he’s grown up in the last year then it will tone down,” James said. “It’s that simple. If he doesn’t want that type of reaction from me… .”
James then relented a bit in mid-sentence.
“I could do a better job of that as well,” James sad. “I understand that, but I don’t do it just to do it. He messes up sometimes.”
This and that• Forward Chris Bosh sat out Tuesday’s practice with what he called “training-camp legs.” Joel Anthony sat out with a sore hamstring, and Chalmers did not participate because of a sore quadriceps.
“I’m just getting back acclimated to everything,” Bosh said. “I just felt it would be better suited for me to kind of watch practice [Tuesday].”• The Heat made fast work of locking up point guard Norris Cole for the third and final year of his rookie contract. The team picked up the option on Cole’ on Tuesday with the deadline for the transaction still a month away. Cole, drafted 28th overall in 2011, is now guaranteed in for the 2013-14 season.
Cole made a splash in last season’s preseason intra-squad scrimmage and went on to average 6.8 points, 2.0 assists, 1.4rebounds and 19.4 minutes in the regular season. He played in 19 postseason games during the Heat’s championship run and averaged 1.8 points in 8.9 minutes in the playoffs.