Nationals

Wade announces shoe deal with Li-Ning

Wade announces shoe deal with Li-Ning

MIAMI (AP) Two-time NBA champion Dwyane Wade is signing with Chinese sportswear provider Li-Ning, which is giving the Miami Heat guard his own brand within the company along with plenty of creative and strategic input.

The partnership will be announced Wednesday in Beijing, where Li-Ning is headquartered and where the Heat are visiting for the NBA China Games tour.

Wade told The Associated Press that he expects the Li-Ning deal to continue through at least the remainder of his playing career. Wade wore Converse for his first six seasons, then Jordan Brand for the past three years.

``It was a great nine years, but for me, it was just time to move on,'' Wade told the AP. ``I have certain goals that I want to reach and I felt that I had to leave to reach those. So I'm doing things a little differently. That's how I am, in a sense. I'm not necessarily a status-quo type guy.''

Wade's debut in Li-Ning sneakers is expected Thursday, when the Heat play a preseason game in Beijing against the Los Angeles Clippers. He's also hoping to play when the Heat and Clippers meet again in Shanghai on Sunday, and Li-Ning plans to auction off the sneakers from those first two games.

However, what he's wearing this week is not a true unveiling of his brand - to be called Wade.

``What you see in China will not be the final product,'' Wade said.

Wade's line of apparel and footwear is to be available at Li-Ning retail stores and online in China ``soon,'' with a U.S. retail debut expected in 2013. His shoes are expected to sell for about $120.

Wade has worn sneakers with no obvious brand markings in practices in recent days, but has tweeted several references to ``10/10'' - the date when the deal will be announced - and posed recently on a court emblazoned with the phrase ``Make The Change,'' a Li-Ning slogan.

``I picked the best situation for me,'' Wade said.

Wade becomes the biggest NBA name to endorse the Li-Ning brand since his former Miami teammate Shaquille O'Neal. Wade said he has gotten to know Li Ning, the brand's namesake, after first seeing the Chinese gymnastics hero - a winner of six medals, three gold, at the Los Angeles Olympics - when he lighted the cauldron at the 2008 Beijing Games. Wade helped the U.S. win basketball gold at those Olympics.

``I had to get to know him and have him get to know me,'' Wade said.

Li-Ning is still trying to gain recognition in the U.S. It has around 8,000 retail outlets in China.

``In the U.S., the China brand is not the cool factor,'' Wade said. ``A lot of work has gone into this and a lot of work is going to continue to go into it. For me, it's a challenge. As an athlete, you look forward to that.''

Wade is the second Heat player to endorse a Chinese shoe label. Heat forward Shane Battier has worn Peak sneakers since 2006.

``My biggest concern was the language barrier,'' Battier said. `` But all in all, it's been a great experience. It's been fun.''

Wade's deal with Jordan Brand expired Sept. 30. He will have say in virtually everything about his brand, from design to endorsers.

He's hopeful that he'll be able to wear something close to a final product by Oct. 30, when the Heat open the regular season against Boston.

``I'm not rushing,'' Wade said. ``To me, I want to make sure it's a good product and when people see me, they need to know I'm comfortable with it. I want to make sure people understand that this is a big deal, not only for China, but for me.''

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Follow Tim Reynolds on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/ByTimReynolds

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Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

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Everything you need to know about the new and improved MLB Trade Deadline

For a long time, Major League Baseball had the best, most exciting trade deadline among the four major sports. In recent seasons, that excitement has been eclipsed by the popularity of the NBA, but baseball still stands ahead of football and hockey in terms of in-season movement.

In an effort to shake things up a bit, baseball’s trade deadline underwent some changes in the offseason.

Notably, while July 31 has always been deadline day, in past years it was a bit of a misnomer. July 31 was technically just the Non-Waiver Trade Deadline in years past. The month of August has always allowed trades to be made as long as players pass through waivers. If a player is claimed off waivers, his team can either pull him back, let him go for nothing, or negotiate a deal with his claiming team only.

This obviously made for much more limited movement in August, but it was always an option. 

Not anymore. Now? July 31 the *only* deadline.

The August revocable waivers trade deadline was always a bit convoluted, and it never made much sense to have more than one deadline. So it’s logical to think the powers that be would want to simplify things for the league.

Reportedly, Major League Baseball is hoping the change will not only help simplify in-season moves, but also help jumpstart offseason activity. The thinking is if teams have even just one fewer option to improve their roster midseason, then contenders will be forced to get aggressive in the offseason.

It remains to be seen if that will come to fruition, but one forthcoming change does seem pretty obvious. The singular trade deadline should make for a much more active July.

Both buyers and sellers have to commit to a direction earlier in the season now. Last year, for example, the Nationals executed their mini-firesale in mid-August, once it had become clear they were not going to compete for the postseason. At the end of the July they were still undecided, which is why they held onto Bryce Harper.

Considering how long it can take major deals to come together, teams have to essentially decide by the All-Star break if they are in or out on competing for October. It will be especially difficult for teams to read the writing on the wall when they are hovering around .500.

As of this writing, there are 10 teams within six games of .500 in either direction, and that doesn’t include organizations like the Red Sox, Nationals and Athletics who have quality records but are way behind runaway division leaders. Will they want to trade away controllable assets for a shot at a one-game Wild Card berth?

General Managers who can forecast their team’s likelihood of competing, and respond accordingly, will be rewarded under the new system. Orioles GM Mike Elias already began his team’s sell-off, trading Andrew Cashner away weeks before the end of July. By contrast, in 2018 both Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman were moved by the Orioles with under an hour to go on deadline day.

It’s hard to perfectly predict all the ways rule changes can affect a sport, but in the case of the singular trade deadline, it’s obvious that teams are now required to commit earlier, with fewer games of information from which to work.

That’s exciting for a sport that could use some more player movement-related excitement.

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Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Summer Guide: The top restaurants and bars for before and after Baltimore Orioles games

Last summer, NBC Sports Washington put together guides that detailed the best bars and restaurants to watch the Capitals' Stanley Cup run and FIFA World Cup. Earlier this summer we gave you some spots around Nationals Park too.

With summer 2019 halfway through and baseball in full swing, it's time to highlight the go-to spots to eat and drink around the ballpark that forever changed baseball. 

In no particular order, consider these: 

Pickles Pub, 520 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Across the street from Oriole Park at Camden Yards
  • Always packed, it's the number one go-to bar for Orioles fans before and after the games 
  • A dozen beers on tap, both local and national brands
  • Great deals throughout baseball season

Sliders Bar and Grille, 504 Washington Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another bar adjacent to Camden Yards
  • Less crowded than Pickles, but just as good when it comes to snacks and drinks
  • Bottle, canned, and draft beer options
  • Gameday specials built around the Orioles season

Abbey Burger Bistro, 1041 Marshall St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • A bit further (about a mile walk) but well worth it
  • Famous for, you guessed it, their wide selection of crafted hamburgers
  • Endorsed by Oriole legend Adam Jones, who even created a burger for their menu
  • Also make spiked milkshakes for adults looking to cool off with a tasty treat

The Yard, 110 S Eutaw St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Inside the Marriott Inner Harbor 
  • Quieter, less-crowded option compared to more popular pregame locations
  • Crab-based breakfast options for fans looking for an early start

Camden Pub, 647 W. Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Two blocks from Camden Yards
  • Special discounts with game tickets
  • Variety of food options, including well-known wings

Quigley's Half Irish Pub, 633 Portland St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Federal Hill location, a block away from the stadium
  • Another less-crowded option, with standard bar fare
  • Just as likely to host baseball fans and neighborhood regulars alike

Pratt Street Ale House, 206 W Pratt St, Baltimore, MD 21201

  • Three blocks from Oriole Park at Camden Yards 
  • Dozens of beer options, plus signature cocktails and wine choices aplenty
  • Well-known nightlife spot for postgame celebrations

Seafood Options:

L.P. Steamers, 1100 E Fort Ave, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Have to drive instead of walk (9 minutes by car)
  • Considered a go-to spot for Maryland-style seafood 
  • Mentioned specifically by Manny Machado upon his return to Baltimore

Phillips Seafood, 601 E. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minute walk to Camden Yards, right in the heart of the Inner Harbor
  • Huge letters outside the building a part of the local skyline
  • Famous for their crabcakes, but serve all kinds of seafood and non-seafood options

Rusty Scupper, 402 Key Highway, Inner Harbor Marina, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • Another slightly further, pricier option for local seafood
  • Beautiful view right on the water
  • Live patio entertainment
  • Happy hour from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. every Monday through Friday

Postgame Dessert Options:

Insomnia Cookies, Federal Hill, 1059 S Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21230

  • 20-minute walk from the stadium
  • Wide variety of deluxe cookie options, plus brownies, ice cream, cake and dessert sandwiches
  • Open until 3 a.m. every night

Polar Roll Creamery, 600 E Pratt St Suite 105, Baltimore, MD 21202

  • 20-minutes from Camden Yards, on the Inner Harbor 
  • Rolled ice cream
  • Watch yourserver roll the ice cream in front of you

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