When it comes to NBA players who are now billionaires, it is only one name that you will find – Michael Jordan. Despite Jordan not making even the top 20 of the highest-paid NBA players of all time, he has managed to amass a lot of wealth outside the court.
Nevertheless, he is the greatest NBA player of all time and during his playing career. Jordan often had high ratings for television networks. Appearing in the four highest-rated National Basketball Association League Finals in the history of the sport.
Throughout his ball career, Jordan only managed to make about $90 million in earnings. Compared to other players like King James who earn hundreds of millions of dollars today.
However, Michael Jordan is worth more than $2 billion today. Which is more than 20 times the amount he made during his playing career.
What is even more fascinating is the fact that Michael Jordan wasn’t even trying to become a billionaire. It all started with some very smart financial decisions he made early in his career. That has paid off significantly for him in the long term.
You see, when he first signed with the sports apparel giants Nike in 1984. Jordan was earning around $500k annually from that contract.
However, in a clever move, Jordan included a clause that allowed him to earn a percentage of the proceeds on his sneakers that the company sold.
It should also be remembered that Nike was not as a bigger brand in the 1980s as it is today, but thanks to Jordan, the company became a household name and one of the largest sneaker brands on the planet.
Before he even signed with Nike, MJ almost signed a deal with the rivals Adidas. According to his documentary – The Last Dance.
Furthermore, the footwear giants turned him down as they did not see him as a priority. Since they already had other star names under their umbrella in certain blokes by the names of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
Later, his mother Deloris, alongside agent Davit Falk, convinced him to meet up with the fledgling Nike.
Though he signed a deal worth $500k a year, which was almost three times more than any other NBA players at the time. It was the birth of Air Jordan’s that would change his fortunes forever.
In the first year of the deal, Nike had projected to sell about $3 million worth of the product. But they ended up making in excess of $126 million. This energy kickstarted a cultural movement that still exists till this day.
Even 16 years after quitting the game, Michael Jordan still earned a whopping $130 million from his Nike deal. Which is four times as much as LeBron James’ who at the time (2019) had the most lucrative NBA deal among his peers.
MJ deal with Nike is the most lucrative contract ever signed by an athlete. But it did not only benefit one side of the deal.
At the time Nike was 50 percent smaller compared to its rivals Adidas in terms of revenues. But in last year’s (2019) revenue report. Nike earned $40 billion, which was 60 percent higher than their rival. As well as almost 43 times more than what it was at the beginning of the deal.
Overall, since retiring from the love of the game, Michael Jordan has managed to create a business empire that includes investments, restaurants as well as his own NBA franchise.