Jump Man

by July 17, 2009

Wade 4

by Chris O’Leary

From the first time he stepped onto a NBA court, Dwyane Wade has never been short of highlight-reel moves.

The crossover he’s pulled today, shaking Converse to fly with Jordan Brand, is no different. While JB has big stars in Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul, Wade—who could battle it out with LeBron and Kobe for the second-biggest star in the League—could come in and take the reigns of the brand. As big as Melo and CP3 are in basketball, Wade is the biggest name the brand has had since Jordan himself stumbled through his last two seasons in Washington.

After years of Wade hamming it up with Charles Barkley for T-Mobile ads, casual fans have come to love DWade (for a shot to your ego, ask your girlfriend what she thinks of him). He’s got the right kind of game, the charisma and the stats to build a serious following with a company that’s been waiting for a mega-star in their stable to fit this billing and blow up.

While it’s technically a lateral move, this is as big a gain for Jordan Brand as it is a loss for Converse. Wade was their only significant signee. Elton Brand and Kirk Hinrich don’t exactly make for a full-on line of shoes and t-shirts, do they?

And at the same time, you can’t really blame Wade for making the move. The aesthetic appeal of Wade’s signature shoes has declined considerably over the last two years, culminating in the atrocity that was the Wade 4. Wade stopped wearing the shoe midway through last season, going back to the original kick the company made for him in ’05–06, the Wade 1.

Looking ahead, the possibilities are endless for Wade and Jordan. The Chicago ties, the similarities that Wade has to MJ’s game (I keep thinking of an old Upper Deck ad with a little kid imitating Mike’s moves in a side-by-side shot) and Wade’s marketability all add up to a bright future for the newly-formed duo.

If you thought Eddie Jones had hot PE’s in his Miami days, prepare yourself. The Wade era could prove to be Jordan’s reincarnation. Brand-wise, I mean.