Why is this a potentially game changer?
Because the Chinese shoe brands — not willing to compete with the Nikes and adidases of the world — haven't been willing to pay for top talent to endorse their shoes. Instead, they have waited until some of the league's veterans were willing to go to them.
Li-Ning has previously signed Shaq and Baron Davis. Peak signed Jason Kidd and Shane Battier. Anta signed Kevin Garnett and Steve Francis.
But all these players were on their second, third, even fourth shoe deals by then, diminishing the power of the signing.
Turner starts with Li-Ning and that makes a big difference. Turner will wear Li-Ning for his rookie season and will immediately appear in the company's marketing. He will have his own signature shoe and apparel, which will be available globally, in his second year with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Li-Ning established a base for its US business in Portland, Ore., where it also has its flagship store. In order for the deal to really work out, Turner obviously has to be a star and the Li-Ning brand has to gain traction with consumers and retailers.
What makes this even more intriguing is that Turner's agent is David Falk, who of course is responsible for establishing the greatest marketing deal of all time, Michael Jordan, Nike and the Air Jordan franchise.
Li-Ning was established the Chinese gymnast Li Ning in 1984. The company generated more than $1.2 billion in sales last year, which makes it bigger than Under Armour.
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