Michael Jordan is the first athlete to be ranked amongst the 400 richest Americans

By Tori Latham 5 October, 2023

The NBA legend’s net worth is estimated to be US$3 billion

Even in retirement, Michael Jordan just keeps on making history.

The former NBA star is now the first professional athlete to join the ranks of the 400 wealthiest people in America, Forbes reported on Monday. His estimated net worth is an eye-popping US$3 billion, down slightly from a projected US$3.5 billion in August but still more than enough to catapult him into the upper echelons of United States residents.

Jordan’s privileged status is in large part due to his recent sale of the Charlotte Hornets. Earlier this year, he gave up his majority stake for US$3 billion, way more than Forbes’s 2022 valuation of the team, which came in at just US$1.7 billion. Along with that income stream, the baller has made some US$2.4 billion in pre-tax dollars over the course of his career, thanks to his NBA payday and deals with brands like Gatorade, McDonald’s, and Nike.

“Michael’s one of the few people that have had success three times,” Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Wizards, Mystics, and Capitals, told Forbes. “A lot of entrepreneurs, they make it once. They have a big win, take their winnings, retire and [we] never hear from them again, or they try something a second time and it doesn’t work. He’s had three mega successes.” (Leonsis was referring to Jordan’s time on and off the court as a player and then an owner, as well as his partnership with Nike on the Air Jordan brand.)

During his time in the NBA, Jordan was one of the league’s highest-paid players, making US$94 million over 15 seasons and ranking as the best-paid player in 1997 and 1998. But it’s his deal with Nike that may be the most lucrative component of his income: Back when the first Air Jordan sneaker came out, the company expected to sell US$3 million worth of merch. Within two months, it had reached US$70 million in sales; by the end of the year it had brought in a whopping US$100 million. Now, according to Forbes, Jordan’s most recent royalty check was for about US$260 million.

With US$3 billion in his bank account, Jordan could very well just sit pretty for the rest of his life and enjoy his earnings. But Leonsis doesn’t imagine that the hooper will slow down anytime soon, calling out his investment in the NASCAR Cup Series team 23XI Racing, which he co-founded with the driver Denny Hamlin. “I bet you it’s going to end up being a great business for him too,” Leonsis said. “It’s his competitiveness and desire to win.”

Being one of the richest people in the country may not come with a trophy, but it’s a nice honour to have alongside all those NBA championships.

This story first published on Robb Report USA