On Monday January 15th, 2010, just a day after Chinese New Year and the NBA All Star Game, Chinese Sports Brand Li-Ning officially opened their first US retail store and showroom in Portland Oregon. In 2007, Li-Ning initially established an office in Portland solely as a footwear innovation center but their new presence and athletic sponsorships looks to establish Li-Ning as a global brand. According to Li-Ning’s USA General Manager, Jay Li, the location was chosen due to the city’s vast footwear expertise and proximity to Li-Ning’s global headquarters in Beijing. The store will carry a variety of Li-Ning’s sportswear and footwear products including the highly anticipated Li-Ning Baron Davis signature products.
Beardman, Baron Davis’ new moniker under Li-Ning has been making the rounds on culture blogs, basketball blogs and sneaker blogs over the past few months. Most recently Li-Ning released a video of Baron Davis’ dribbling through the streets of NYC which was also picked up by a number of sites. The video was a promo piece for the Li-Ning BD Doom and feature cameos from some of Beardman’s celebrity friends, Jim Jones, Irv Gotti and Common. A week before the opening, Li-Ning sent out details regarding a limited edition Li-Ning Baron Davis Beardman Vinyl Figure that would also be for sale at the opening. The marketing efforts paid off, the store opened to a group of beardman fans eagerly waiting to pick up their Li-Ning BD Doom sneakers and the Beardman vinyl figure.
Shortly after the consumer event, Li-Ning held a launch party with Baron Davis as the guest of honor with many of Portland’s important social figures in attendance including Sam Adams the Mayor of Portland. At the party, Theresa Valentine from Champs Sports announced that Champs will be carrying Li-Ning products exclusively in 80 stores on West Coast by Summer 2010. During a Q&A session, BD mentioned that the shoes has been extremely well received from his peers in the league, including a compliment from LeBron James who according to Baron said “Yo BD, why are you shoes better than, everybody elses”. When asked about the “Beardman” logo he says “I like it, it kinda look like me” in a chuckle. In a follow up question regarding his beard he says “I play around with it now and again, I just can’t be out in public with out it.”
The Li-Ning store is now open to the public, some of the premier products include the BD Doom $100, Baron Davis Vinyl Figure $70 (discounted with purchase of footwear), BD Beardman Varsity Jacket $400, Beardman T-Shirts $35. If you are in the area make sure to stop by and check out the new store.
910 NW Hoyt Street
Portland, OR 97209