Jordan picks Wade to debut new Nike shoe
NBA star Dwyane Wade pleaded for years to join the Jordan Brand family, wanting to wear the shoe his idol made famous.
His persistence is being rewarded.
When Jordan Brand makes its long-awaited release of the Air Jordan 2010 in February to commemorate the popular line's 25th anniversary, Wade will debut the shoe. Hand-picked for the role by Michael Jordan himself, the Miami Heat guard called it "a huge honor."
"I was in awe, because I know what it means to not only be a part of Jordan Brand but really represent Michael on the court in the shoe he would wear," Wade told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "Very excited, to say the least."
The shoe will be launched in the U.S. on Feb. 13 and will retail for $170. That coincides with All-Star weekend near Dallas and is four days before Jordan's 47th birthday. It's unknown if Wade will wear the shoe beforehand, say in Miami's marquee Christmas Day game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks.
"The celebration of the Air Jordan 2010 and our 25th anniversary are the pinnacle of a year full of milestones for me," Jordan said in a statement. "With each shoe, consumers have pushed me to take the next Air Jordan beyond their wildest imagination."
This was beyond Wade's imagination, anyway.
He spent six years wearing Converse apparel, then made the switch to Jordan Brand in July. (Both are owned by Nike.) Details of his contract with Jordan Brand were not disclosed, although it was certain to at least match the remaining three years at $6 million annually left on his Converse deal.
Jordan Brand spokeswoman Terri Hines said Wade was the first pitchman for the Air Jordan other than Jordan himself.
It's the latest notch in Wade's business world: He also has strong deals with T-Mobile and Gatorade.
Aligning himself even closer to Jordan was as big a perk as being able to wear the Air Jordans, Wade said.
"Before this, our relationship was kind of on the basis of seeing him and still being in awe of the person I grew up watching," Wade said. "Now I can e-mail, call him, all these lines of communication. So I think it's kind of cool. He responds back to me a lot quicker now than he used to."