NBA’s O’Neal Inks Chinese Brand Deal
NBA star Shaquille O’Neal announced a deal Monday with Chinese sportswear company Li Ning Co. to lend his name to a line of shoes and apparel for the Chinese market.
The company, which sells sportswear under the name of Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast Li Ning, will market clothes bearing the name and logo of O’Neal, a former Los Angeles Lakers star who plays for the Miami Heat.
The apparel line, called Intensify O’Neal, will be sold only in China, beginning next year, Hong Kong-based Li Ning said in a statement.
The brand will raise the company’s “level of influence in the forum of international basketball,” Chief Executive Zhang Zhiyong said in the statement.
Li Ning is trying to take market share in China from foreign firms such as Nike Inc. and Adidas. The O’Neal pact is part of a strategy to draw Chinese consumers’ interest by using the images of Western athletes. The pact’s value was undisclosed.
Besides O’Neal, Li Ning has an agreement to use the name of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Damon Jones and sponsors Spain’s national basketball team.