In a move that could rock the athletic shoe industry, Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade is said to be on the cusp of switching Nike brands from Converse to the Jordan brand, CNBC has learned.
Although it's under the same corporate umbrella, it would be the biggest change in shoe deals since Kobe Bryant switched from adidas to Nike in six years ago. The move would be seen as shocking since it could all but kill any momentum for the Converse brand, which Nike bought for $305 million in 2003.
Wade had signed with Converse just months before the Nike acquisition at a bargain rate of $400,000 a year. Two years into the deal, Wade signed an extension with the brand that would take the relationship through the 2011-12 season.
Wade's first signature shoe came out during the '05-06 season, the same year Wade led his Heat to the NBA title, while picking up the Finals MVP trophy. Two injury plagued years partly contributed to a dulling of Wade's impact with Converse and then came the ultimate buzz kill.
This past season, Wade didn't wear the Wade 4's during the season, despite the fact that Converse had been pushing that shoe to the market. Wade's agent Henry Thomas told CNBC that his client preferred the first version of his shoe and that his time at the Summer Olympics didn't allow for Wade to get used to the new model of his shoes.
The switch to Jordan would be strange since the Jordan brand, whose endorsers already include Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, seemingly doesn't need any help. The Jordan brand owns a dominating 92.8 percent of the marquee basketball shoe market, while Converse only owns 1.2 percent of the market, according to SportsOneSource, a sports retail market tracking firm.
When reached, a Jordan spokesperson had no comment. Thomas didn't return calls seeking comment.
Wade recently posted on his Twitter account, "I got GOOD NEWS coming ... stay tuned."
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