Lauded as one of the best basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan has established a legacy in the world of sports and business—and on April 5 a blockbuster film will tell of his early business success.
- Air: Courting a Legend, starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, opens in theaters on April 5 and tells the story of how Nike created the Air Jordan sneaker, which has become a huge hit.
- The former Chicago Bulls player has an estimated net worth of nearly $2 billion, according to Forbes. Surprisingly, his fortune is connected to Jordan’s investments and brand deals rather than his athletic career.
- Compared to modern-day players, Jordan was paid a relatively low salary. Over his career, he earned $93.7 million in 15 years. A current player, Buddy Hields, signed a $94 million four-year contract.
- Around $1.8 billion of his wealth comes from partnerships with businesses like Nike, Hanes, and Gatorade, Forbes reports.
- Jordan is the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets basketball team. He has also established endorsement and advertising deals with multiple companies, bringing in other forms of revenue.
Why it’s news
Wednesday markets the release of Air, the story of how the fledgling sneaker company Nike signed up Michael Jordan and created the Air Joran basketball sneaker, which became one of the most profitable athletic sponsorships in history. It turned Nike from a small player to the number-one brand in sports.
Today, sports stars can expect to make a fortune during their peak performance years, but that was not necessarily the case when Jordan began his career 40 years ago. Jordan is different than other athletes because he diversified his investments and built on the wealth he earned while playing.
- Majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets
- Air Jordan sports apparel
- Real Estate Portfolio
- Michael Jordan Steakhouse
- Shareholder Of The Miami Marlins Baseball Club
- Owner of NASCAR racing team 23XI Racing
- Corporate advisor for Draft-Kings
- Michael Jordan XXIII Golf Course
Endorsement deals have always played an active role in Jordan’s financial strategy. For nearly 30 years, Jordan has been the spokesperson for Hanes. Nike owes much of its initial success to Jordan’s influence. When Jordan first signed his sneaker deal with the athletic wear company, both the player and Nike were up and coming in the sports world. Now, Nike pays Jordan millions every year for his continued endorsement.
Jordan has continued investing in new endorsement deals and business opportunities. In 2020, Jordan invested significantly in the betting firm Draft-Kings and became a corporate advisor. He has since taken an equity stake in the company, Reuters reports.
In 2020 Jordan also partnered with Denny Hamlin to co-own the NASCAR team 23XI. Jordan famously hired Bubba Wallace to drive.
More recently, the basketball legend invested $305 million into Dapper Labs, the source behind the virtual trading-card platform NBA Top Shot. While it is still too soon to see how this investment turns out, most of Jordan’s previous investments have succeeded.