Friday, December 1, 2023

Michael Jordan becomes first professional athlete to rank among America’s 400 wealthiest people

Michael Jordan is many things. A Hall of Fame basketball player, six-time NBA champion, and a member of the league’s 75th anniversary team with accolades as long as a CVS receipt. Now Jordan can add another title to that lengthy list: a member of the Forbes 400 list

Jordan’s estimated $3 billion net worth makes him the first professional athlete to crack the Forbes 400, a list that compiles America’s wealthiest individuals. It’s not surprising to see him appear on the ranking, after all, he is the reason professional athletes have become walking dollar signs in the form of endorsement deals all the way from shoes, beverages and even team ownership. In fact, it was the sale of his controlling stake in the Charlotte Hornets that placed him on the Forbes list.

M.J. sold the Hornets back in August for $3 billion, a significant markup from the $275 million he purchased the team for back in 2010. While Charlotte didn’t experience much on-court success under Jordan’s stewardship, making just three postseason appearances since he’s been owner, and never advancing past the first round, from a financial standpoint it became an appreciating asset for the six-time champion. 

Jordan has become the model for what success looks like both during your playing career and well after you’ve retired. And while he’s the first pro athlete to make the Forbes 400, he likely won’t be the last. The next possible candidate to get there is LeBron James, whose net worth of $1 billion is unheard of as an active player. James, like Jordan, is incredibly business savvy, pulling in endorsement deals from Nike, McDonald’s and Sprite, while also becoming the founder and owner of companies like Springhill Entertainment, which serves as an entertainment and production company.

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That’s all just while James is still playing. He’s expressed on multiple occasions his desire to own an NBA franchise, something that can only happen when he retires. And given all the business ventures he’s already involved in while still performing at a high level, he’ll certainly continue to add to his portfolio once he hangs them up. 

But for right now, Jordan is the benchmark, and while he sold his majority stake in the Hornets he’s showing no signs of slowing down in his other business ventures. 

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