Forbes is pretty much the authority for making lists relating to the richest of us — sports stars, not surprising, are frequently featured for the tens (hundreds?) of millions they bring in annually. From the most valuable NBA franchises to the highest paid athletes, Forbes makes sure to cover all of the bases. The latest listicle they came up with is the “NBA’s Richest Shoe Deals,” and you can already guess who came out on top.
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Michael Jordan took majority control of the Charlotte Hornets in 2010 after four years as a minority investor. The investment, which valued the team at $175 million, excluding working capital Jordan committed, has been a slam dunk for MJ. The team is currently worth $1.3 billion, pushing Jordan’s net worth to $1.9 billion. NBA team values have soared, thanks to a new $24 billion TV contract, strong international growth and global investor interest, but profitability can still be elusive for small-market teams. The business of being Michael Jordan is still booming, and he will make an estimated $145 million in 2019 from his ongoing endorsements and other businesses. Nike’s Jordan Brand generated $3.14 billion in revenue for the 12 months ending in May. The tally is up 10% and a record for the brand. MJ’s cut is an estimated $130 million, four times that of LeBron James, the No. 2 sneaker deal earner in basketball, with $32 million. Jordan's shoe money alone is more than the $127 million in total earnings of Lionel Messi, who ranked as the world's highest-paid athlete this year. Jordan, with a big assist from Nike, revolutionized the marketing of NBA players in the 1980s. His original five-year Nike deal paid $500,000 annually, plus royalties. He later signed deals with Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Chevrolet, General Mills and more than a dozen other brands. His cumulative off-court income is roughly $1.7 billion since he entered the league in 1984, almost 20 times the $90 million in salary he made in 15 seasons with the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards. (📸: Getty)
Yep, it comes as no surprise that nobody is jumping over the Jumpman. Michael Jordan tops the list, which tallies up the biggest NBA shoe deals for the past fiscal year ending in May 2019, with a whopping $130 million USD. His portion is taken from Jordan Brand’s $3.14 billion USD intake for the 2019 fiscal year, even with the fact that MJ retired over 20 years ago. Rounding out the top five is LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and fellow retired basketball legend Kobe Bryant, although combined they don’t even come close to matching Jordan’s shoe deal earnings. As far as brands, Nike (Jordan Brand included) is unsurprisingly the reigning company giving these guys multimillion-dollar deals.
Read the entire article over on Forbes now, but check out the top 14 highest paid athlete shoe deals for 2019 below:
14. Klay Thompson – Anta: $9 million USD
13. Damian Lillard – adidas: $10 million USD
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With the theme of the @adidashoops x @marvel collab being “Heroes Among Us,” I thought it would be a good opportunity to honor one of the students in my Respect program that exemplified that theme. We picked Parkrose student JayJay Hudson as the Respect student to receive a pair of my @marvel x @adidashoops Black Panther #Dame5. JayJay represents what the RESPECT program is all about. No matter what obstacles are put in front of him he is consistently Showing Up, Working Hard and Being Kind. As an involved Junior at Parkrose High School, he is a member of the student leadership body, volunteers for the Parkrose Provides Program which supports students and families in need and is a part of the Parkrose AVID program. JayJay excels in the classroom, is a leader in the community and is constantly a positive voice in the lives of others. There have been many obstacles put in front of JayJay. In the past three months he has moved five different times and earlier in his education he attended three different elementary schools. Many decisions that a lot of students make with their parents, JayJay has navigated on his own (like getting a job or getting his birth certificate). The parental figures in his life have been his grandmother (who he describes as giving him the knowledge of how to treat older people) and his brother (who was with him throughout the foster system and who taught him how to be street smart). One of the most impressive qualities JayJay possesses is his positive outlook on life. He never sees things as tough, but just as the way of life, knowing he will get through it and be in a better place in the end. Because JayJay is an exceptional individual who demonstrates what it means to persevere, Parkrose teachers and staff are confident about the opportunities in his future. Enjoy the shoes, JayJay!
12. Giannis Antetokounmpo – Nike: $10 million USD
11. Derrick Rose – adidas: $11 million USD
10. Kyrie Irving – Nike: $11 million USD
9. Russell Westbrook – Jordan Brand: $12 million USD
8. Dwyane Wade – Li-Ning: $12 million USD
7. Zion Williamson – Jordan Brand: $13 million USD
— Zion Williamson (@Zionwilliamson) July 23, 2019
6. James Harden – adidas: $14 million USD
5. Kobe Bryant – Nike: $16 million USD
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Such an awesome day celebrating the inaugural season of Mamba League in NYC with @nikebasketball and @childrensaidnyc. What a joy to see #MambaMentality come to life with the next generation of athletes at Milbank Community Center. Love that kids are building confidence on and off the court and unlocking their potential through sport. #MambaLeague #MadetoPlay #Wizenard
4. Stephen Curry – Under Armour: $20 million USD
3. Kevin Durant – Nike: $26 million USD
2. LeBron James – Nike: $32 million USD
1. Michael Jordan – Jordan Brand: $130 million USD