How Michael Jordan amassed his $5.5 billion wealth

The best basketball player of all time is Michael Jordan. And the wealthiest.

The National Basketball Association legend’s net worth was assessed to be $US3.5 billion ($5.5 billion) this month after he sold his ownership interest in the Charlotte Hornets, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which is estimating his wealth for the first time.

Jordan is a cultural icon whose likeness is found everywhere, from his silhouette on shoes to his smiling visage on $US100 collector Wheaties boxes. Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and won five MVP honors. When the hall-of-famer purchased a majority stake in the Hornets, who were then known as the Bobcats, he became the second black majority owner in the NBA. But the basis of Jordan’s ground-breaking income was a licensing agreement with Nike in the 1980s, when he was still comparatively unheard of.

The NBA’s ranking as one of the world’s most lucrative leagues is confirmed by the sale of Jordan’s Hornets interest, which comes after a remarkable 2022 for sports club transfers. Since billionaires have been using their enormous fortune to buy franchises, their value has skyrocketed. In a historic agreement last year, Mat Ishbia, who founded wholesale mortgage lender UWM Holdings Corp., agreed to purchase more than 50% of the Phoenix Suns, giving the team a $US4 billion valuation.

Jordan sold his shares in the Hornets to a consortium that was led by Rick Schnall, co-president of the private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, and Gabe Plotkin, founder of Melvin Capital Management. According to the team, Jordan keeps a secret minority share as part of the $US3 billion purchase. According to Bloomberg’s estimation, he sold a 65 percent ownership in the squad while holding onto a less than 5 percent share.

Jordan, 60, wrote an open letter to Hornets supporters on August 3 and stated, “Now is the proper moment for me to take over the reigns.

I’m eager to see what the future holds and am looking forward to many years of service to the group and the neighborhood in my new position.

Jordan’s family office’s spokeswoman declined to comment for this article.

Mom’s guidance

A large portion of Jordan’s riches comes from his immensely popular Jordan Brand clothing line at Nike, which was the focus of this year’s Air movie by Ben Affleck, in addition to the Hornets. According to Jordan in the ESPN and Netflix documentary series The Last Dance, his mother, Deloris Jordan, played a key role in negotiating the arrangement.

‘You’re going to go listen,’ my mother told me. Jordan said in the documentary series, “You might not like it, but you’re going to go listen.”

He agreed to a $US2.5 million, five-year deal with Nike in 1984. Soon after, the first Air Jordan model was released.

According to corporate documents, Jordan Brand brought in $US5.1 billion in revenue last year, or almost 11% of Nike’s overall sales.

There is “wild speculation” about how much money Jordan has made from Nike, according to Thilo Kunkel, director of Temple University’s Sport Industry Research Centre. Such agreements sometimes include royalties as well as bonus-like payments when specific sales criteria are reached.

If it were its own brand, he claimed, it would have a market cap that rivaled some of the Under Armours of the world. At this point, “it’s almost like a luxury sports brand.”

According to the Bloomberg index calculation, he made money from endorsement deals, his NBA contract, and a 5% royalty on Air Jordan sales. Requests for comment about Jordan’s earnings were unanswered by Nike.

akin to Mike

In subsequent years, several athletes have sought out long-term brand agreements with athletic apparel companies in an effort to be “like Mike.” The Curry Brand has a long-term agreement with NBA star Steph Curry from Under Armour Inc. that includes an annual cash payment, bonuses, royalties, and equity. And according to the index, NBA star LeBron James amassed a fortune of about $US1.5 billion from endorsements, investments, and his own consumer and entertainment company, the SpringHill Co.

BMO Capital Markets analyst Simeon Siegel claimed that as a player, the Jordan brand has “transcended” him. Many of its patrons are too young to have even witnessed him play basketball professionally.

“Jordan the brand and Jordan the person have helped shape Nike as well as the entire athletic apparel landscape,” he stated.

Then there are the additional recommendations. He agreed to a 10-year, $13.5 million contract with Gatorade, which culminated to the 1991 TV commercial “Be Like Mike.” More often than any other athlete, he has 19 appearances on Wheaties boxes. At the height of his success, he was reportedly making between $15 and $20 million a year through deals with numerous businesses in 1991, according to the New York Times.

He has also placed wagers on organizations involved in other sports. He founded the Nascar team 23XI Racing in 2020, which features Bubba Wallace, the only driver of color on the circuit. Jordan received shares in DraftKings Inc. that same year, where he works as a special advisor to the board. His ownership interest in the bookmaker, which began trading publicly in April 2020, is unknown.

A DraftKings representative declined to comment.

Jordan advises Heir Inc., a company that his son Jeffrey helped co-found. According to the company’s website, its app gives users access to athletes and sporting events.

The money he made as a player is also nothing to laugh at. According to Spotrac, a company that records sports contracts, he received more than $US90 million in pay over the course of his career with the Bulls and Washington Wizards.

Charlotte’s history

Growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina, Jordan claimed it was his goal to own a franchise there. Dean Smith, a great coach at the University of North Carolina where he played, persuaded him to turn professional following his junior year. For Jordan as a player, his time in college was the “purest” experience.

Jordan chuckled as his mother read aloud a letter he wrote in college begging her to give him stamps and deposit money into his account because he was down to $US20 during The Last Dance.

In 2010, Jordan paid $US275 million for the majority of the Charlotte Bobcats, who had previously changed their name back to the Hornets. The franchise struggled under Jordan’s leadership as the team’s majority owner, never making it past the first round of the playoffs.

Jordan made sure the Hornets stayed in Charlotte before he sold his interest. The city agreed to a $US275 million contract in 2022 that would restore the team’s uptown arena and assist in the construction of a new practice facility, extending the team’s lease until 2045.

In his message to the fans, Jordan added, “Even if we weren’t as successful on the court as I — and many of you — would have liked, I am pleased of the things that we did as an organization.

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