If you want to be like Mike, you’re going to need a few billion dollars in your bank account.
The NBA legend Michael Jordan is worth an estimated $3.5 billion, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, making him the richest basketball player ever. It’s the first time the Bloomberg Billionaires Index is tracking his fortune.
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Much of the MVP’s recent bump is thanks to the sale of his stake in the Charlotte Hornets. Back in 2010, Jordan bought a majority stake in the basketball team, but this month he agreed to a $3 billion deal that will allow him to retain a minority stake. (Bloomberg’s estimate assumes that he sold a 65 percent stake in the team and kept a less than 5 percent stake. A spokesperson for Jordan’s family office declined to comment.)
The hall-of-famer, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles, has also made a good deal of money from his relationship with Nike. In 1984, he signed a $2.5 million, five-year contract with the company, which then launched its now-iconic Air Jordans. Last year, Jordan Brand had $5.1 billion in revenue, making up almost 11 percent of Nike’s total sales, according to company filings reviewed by Bloomberg. While it’s not known how much Jordan makes from those sales, Bloomberg estimated that the hooper gets a 5 percent royalty.
“Jordan the person and Jordan the brand have helped shape Nike as well as the entire athletic apparel landscape,” Simeon Siegel, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, told Bloomberg.
Beyond those two income streams, Jordan had a handful of lucrative deals under his belt when he was still an active player in the NBA. Throughout his career with the Bulls and the Washington Wizards, he made a more than $90 million salary. In 1991, when Jordan was at his peak, The New York Times wrote that he was bringing in $15 million to $20 million annually from his various endorsements, and he signed a 10-year, $13.5 million deal with Gatorade.
While Jordan is quite literally still the most valuable player in the basketball world, younger stars may one day eclipse the baller: LeBron James is worth about $1.5 billion, according to Bloomberg, and Steph Curry recently signed a long-term deal with Under Armour that he could benefit from for years to come. Even if that does happen, though, fans will surely continue to debate which of the three is most deserving of the GOAT title.