How Michael Jordan Became a Billionaire While Others Went Broke

By Victor O

Michael Jordan is an all-time great when talking about the players that have ever played in the National Basketball Association (NBA). In fact, he is regarded by many as the greatest basketball player ever. On March 2, the 14-time NBA All-Star added another one to his long list of accomplishments – billionaire status. So how did this iconic athlete make his billion? This question was answered in a recent piece by Marvin Jules of Celebrity Net Worth.

Playing Career Earnings

Jordan’s playing career in the NBA spanned 15 seasons, during which he made about $90 million in total earnings. If you work that out, he earned on average slightly more than $6 million per year — not a lot when judging by what players make in the league today. A whopping $63 million out of the total career earnings was made in just two seasons ̶ 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons. He made $30 million and $33 million in those seasons, respectively. The contracts for the two years are the biggest single-season contracts ever in the NBA.

Earnings from Endorsements and Investments

Many years after retiring from the NBA, Jordan still rake in endorsement money by the millions every year. He had or currently has lucrative endorsement deals with companies such as Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, Presbyterian Healthcare and 2K Sports. A significantly large chunk of money the six-time NBA champion makes from endorsements comes from the Jordan Brand subsidiary of Nike. A total of $100 million accrued to Jordan from endorsement deals in 2014. He earned $90 million from the Jordan brand in 2013, while the brand made about $2.6 billion in sales last year. That sales figure was quite huge, considering other non-Nike sneakers from companies like Adidas, Reebok and Armour made a combined total of $190 million in sales. The Jordan brand sneaker Legend Blue reportedly raked in $80 million in sales during its first week’s release. Jordan has investments – excluding that in the Charlotte Hornets – valued at around $600 million.

Worth as an NBA Owner

In 2006, the 10-time scoring champion acquired a minority stake in the Hornets, who were then known as the Bobcats. He became an 80% controlling owner in 2010 when he bought the stake from BET founder Robert Johnson for $175 million. He has increased his stake in the team to 89.5 percent since then. Team values have surged in recent years, particularly after former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer paid $2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers last year. The Hornets are now valued at around $600 million, with Jordan’s stake in the team estimated at $416 million.

These endorsement earnings, investments and Hornets stake combined puts Jordan’s net worth at over $1 billion!

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