Who still wants to be like Mike?


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Retired NBA legend Michael Jordan just became the first athlete ranked among America’s wealthiest people on the Forbes 400 list. Jordan, who has been a billionaire since 2014, catapulted onto the Forbes 400 list this year following the sale of the Charlotte Hornets in August for $3 billion. The former pro basketballer had been the team’s majority owner since 2010 when he bought the franchise for $275 million. Jordan built his fame through his 15 seasons with the NBA, but Forbes notes that his fortune largely stemmed from his off-court ventures.

For instance, Jordan earned $94 million during his time with the NBA. Still, he has scored an estimated $2.4 billion in pre-tax earnings from branding deals with McDonald’s, Gatorade, and Nike — with the latter representing a sizable portion of his wealth. Forbes notes that his most recent annual royalty check from Nike was for $260 million.

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Forbes reports:

Since Michael Jordan stepped onto an NBA court for the first time in 1984, earning an outsized payday has been a layup. Across his 15 NBA seasons, he hauled in $94 million and was the league’s highest-paid player in 1997 and 1998. But it was off the court where Jordan put serious air between himself and every other athlete on the planet, earning an estimated $2.4 billion (pre-tax) over his career with brands such as McDonald’s, Gatorade, Hanes and, of course, Nike, where his most recent yearly royalty check was for some $260 million.

Jordan had his biggest score in August, though, when he sold his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets at an eye-watering $3 billion valuation. Even if he had sold at Forbes’ most recent valuation, an estimated $1.7 billion in 2022, it would have been a coup for the 60-year-old Hall of Famer. Instead, the 27th most valuable franchise in the NBA traded hands for the second-highest sale price in league history and nearly 17 times its value when Jordan became principal owner in 2010.

That places him in rare air. With an estimated net worth of $3 billion, Jordan has arrived on The Forbes 400, marking the first time a professional athlete has ranked among America’s wealthiest individuals.