Michael Jordan is one of professional sports’ living legends and his current net worth definitely reflects that reputation. But, what most people would find surprising is that he only made $90 million during his professional career as a basketball player in the NBA.
He actually made most of his now-$1.9 billion fortune from other profitable ventures.
Lucrative Brand Deals
The former pro-baller made his fortune and continues to grow it via two means: the Jordan Brand and the Charlotte Hornets.
Perhaps sensing something special in the then-rookie, Phil Knight, Nike’s co-founder, signed him on for his brand reportedly spending $250,000 to secure him. However, the young Jordan actually had his eyes set on a deal with Adidas but the competitor brand had to pass on him.
Apparently, Adidas executives in Germany wanted taller players because they thought shoppers will favor them better. At 6’6″, Jordan was simply too short for Adidas, it seemed.
In hindsight, that decision is probably one of the biggest mistakes the brand ever made. The young Jordan’s partnership with Nike proved to be a great hit as the Jordan Brand dominated the shoe market.
Until today, basketball fans still line up just to get new shoe releases ahead of others. In fact, the brand continues to rake in around $3 billion in revenue annually.
Aside from his Nike deal, Jordan was also able to cash in on his star power with sponsorship deals for other giant brands like Gatorade and Hanes, which he’s been working with for over three decades now.
Sports Team Stakes
Putting his years of experience in the NBA to good use, the former Chicago Bulls player purchased the majority of the Charlotte Hornets team in 2010 paying a whopping $175 million to do so.
Fast forward to today, the North Carolina-based basketball team is now valued at $1.25 billion, according to Forbes. That’s almost a tenfold increase in value in just the span of less than a decade.
Jordan, who grew up in North Carolina, currently owns 90% of the team. And it looks like Jordan continues to have big plans for his team saying that he’s determined to make the Charlotte Hornets a winning team in the NBA.
All these things considered, Jordan’s net worth is projected to grow larger within the coming year with some believing that he’ll soon hit the $2 billion mark.
While some may not consider him to be the greatest basketball player ever, it’s undeniable that he’s one of the most successful ones both inside and outside the court.
The 56-year-old athlete turned businessman is currently the third richest African American in the country just right behind the likes of investor Robert F. Smith and media mogul Oprah Winfrey.