Michael Jordan: Net Worth Of A Basketball Icon
Michael Jordan: Net Worth Of A Basketball Icon
Michael Jordan net worth? Where to start?
In actuality, the search term might actually be the leading search term for the earnings of a 1990s-era athlete in the UK. Yet even if Jordan’s not at the top, it would be hard to argue against the opinion that the 57-year-old owner of the Charlotte Hornets remains rather close.
Refuse to believe the hype at your own peril. Here are a few things to think about when it comes to Michael Jordan’s net worth.
Why all things “Michael Jordan” are hot right now
First, Jordan is the top mentioned name amongst 1990s heyday athletes currently on UK Google Trends. He trails only “David Beckham net worth” amongst such sporting icon contemporaries for the volume of searches in the UK.
Additionally, the Jordan Brand of shoes and apparel remains a significant fixture in the nation’s athletic wear suppliers.
Admittedly, it’s been 22 years since Jordan’s masterful steal and game-winning jump shot in Salt Lake City gave his Chicago Bulls their sixth NBA championship in eight seasons. However, Jordan is still popping up at the front of our Netflix screens daily as we look into his career and that final championship run on The Last Dance.
Furthermore, Jordan remains the basketball player – if not the athlete – to which current NBA icon LeBron James will be compared to well beyond his retirement.
So as the acclaimed Netflix documentary series The Last Dance reaches its conclusion Monday morning for UK viewers, we ask: what is the Michael Jordan net worth?
Michael Jordan net worth breakdown
Michael Jordan reportedly holds a net worth estimated at $2.1 billion. The earnings owe to many different factors. Firstly, there is his recognisable endorsements (including Hanes, Gatorade and Upper Deck). There’s also his ever-escalating NBA career playing salaries. Not to mention Space Jam.
These days, there’s his ownership stake in the Charlotte Hornets (formerly the Charlotte Bobcats).
Jordan has also laid down some timely investments in tequila and headphones.
And though he doesn’t play anymore, he still sees sizable income from his decision to branch off his Air Jordan shoe line as a subsidiary of Nike.
The power of endorsements
The man has a strong case is to be the top-earning athlete in team sports. However, Jordan doesn’t owe his success to playing salaries, as we’ll discover shortly.
Basketball’s popularity soared in the 1980s domestically in the US. Jordan subsequently took it to its last remaining frontier: the global scale. Mixing ball skills, grace, relentless work ethic and team success, Jordan gave the NBA international appeal. His championship rings, a 1992 Dream Team triumph in Barcelona, and a commercially marketed personal brand put him front and centre for an emerging sport.
Consequently, Jordan’s basketball career (and his elevation of the NBA as an international form of entertainment) prove endorsement deals can surpass player salaries as the major source of income. So long as that player has even a remotely similar set of ambassadorial skills, that is.
Nike and the International Appeal of Jordan
Nike plays arguably the biggest part of Michael Jordan’s net worth. Moreover, Jordan is unique to other athletes with a shoe deal. Namely, he took control of his name and signature shoes in a way few other athletes can.
For instance, in the fiscal year ending May 2019, Jordan Brand made $3.1 billion in wholesale revenue. As a result, it’s clear the brand has been instrumental in driving his Q score among teens. Teens, by the way, who’ve never seen him dunk over Patrick Ewing live.
A quick side story about Jordan vs Ewing and the Jordan Brand
For the uninitiated, Patrick Ewing is a Hall of Famer and current collegiate basketball coach for the Georgetown Hoyas. But like so many others who tried, Ewing was never his equal.
As a player, Jordan’s college team defeated Ewing and Georgetown in 1982 to win the US collegiate basketball title. Jordan later won every playoff series (that’s five different playoff series) his Bulls played against Ewing’s highly competitive New York Knicks squads of the 1980s and 1990s. Additionally, Ewing’s eponymous shoe brand is also now defunct, though something of a collector’s item for Knicks fans.
So, what is the uniform and footwear brand that Ewing’s Hoyas wear today?
You guessed it: Jordan Brand. As the videos and image above prove, even when Ewing seemingly has Jordan pinned down, it’s Ewing who simply can’t escape.
Back to Jordan Brand’s appeal
Other partners, like McDonald’s and (for a time) Coca-Cola, already held a global presence when he came aboard, driving his reach beyond American shores.
In all, Forbes estimates that before taxes, Jordan earned $1.7 billion USD thanks to endorsements alone. Moreover, with Jordan Brand being more relevant than ever, the sky’s the limit. Or is it the ceiling is the roof, MJ?
The power of team ownership
For onlookers, it was a mere $175 million investment in 2010 to move him beyond his minority stake in a 2005 expansion team. In the midst of a global recession, Jordan’s majority control purchase of the Charlotte Bobcats (the lone team in his home state of North Carolina) wasn’t high on radar screens.
However, Jordan’s savvy had struck again.
First, the expansion franchise regained its identity. The original Hornets, now in New Orleans, relinquished the nickname in 2012, changing their name to a more Bayou friendly mascot – the Pelicans.
Then came a new collective bargaining agreement with the NBA Players Association. This was a clear power move by the league’s owners, increasing their share of profits from 43% to 50%.
Subsequently, the hits kept coming for franchise value. Later, the television contracts to broadcast NBA games (split evenly amongst all 30 teams) tripled in value from the previous agreements.
Additionally, for the first time since Jordan retired, television ratings for US NBA Finals broadcast broached the highest totals.
Finally, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer purchased the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion in 2014. For those counting, that figure is 11 times Jordan’s purchase price to gain majority control of the team.
A valuation of the Hornets in September 2019 shows the Hornets value at $1.5 billion. Additionally, former Jordan brand star baseball player Derek Jeter brought MJ into his own investment group with the Miami Marlins baseball team. Business Insider reveals his wealth of investments also include headphones, music and an eSports team.
The power of salaries?
Believe it or not, player salaries have had much less to do with his financial success than you would think.
Not that he turned it down (with one notable exception). Across the 13 seasons on the basketball court as a member of the Chicago Bulls, Jordan corralled just over $90 million in salary.
About that notable exception? That came during his two-season run as a guard/forward with the Washington Wizards from 2001 to 2003. With the US still reeling from terrorist attacks in New York City, Jordan gave his entire salary to September 11th relief efforts.
Things he’s turned down
Michael Jordan is clearly bankable, but he’s also selective in his dealings. His agent David Falk revealed in May that Jordan once turned down a nine-figure offer for the use of Jordan’s name and likeness at an event. Speaking with WFAN Radio, Falk didn’t hold back:
“I brought him a deal three years ago for $100 million. All he had to do was, other than giving his name and likeness, make a one two-hour appearance to announce the deal and he turned it down.
“God bless him. He’s been so successful that it gives him an opportunity to do whatever the hell he wants or not to do things he doesn’t want.
“I really admire that. He’s very, very selective in the things he wants to be involved in.”