How Michael Jordan, the first billionaire athlete, makes and spends his $1.9 billion fortune

Jordan Brand via Getty ImagesMichael Jordan is known as the greatest basketball player of all time. He’s also the richest.

Jordan still makes more money than LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, or any other active player.

REUTERS/Chris Keane

As of 2015, he was reportedly making $US100 million a year from Nike royalties alone.


Source: Business Insider

And his income now is way more than his total playing salary during his career. He earned $US90 million total in NBA salary, and about $US63 million of that came in his final two seasons with the Chicago Bulls.


Source: Forbes,Spotrac, Basketball-Reference

His net worth is now believed to be $US1.9 billion thanks to the skyrocketing value of his NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets …

AP Images/Chuck Burton

Source: Money

… and the Jordan Brand.

NikeNike Air Jordan 12

Source: Forbes

He bought the Charlotte Hornets in 2010 for $US175 million …

Streeter Lecka/Getty

Source: Forbes, Business Insider

… and he officially became a billionaire in 2014 when the NBA franchise value rose.

Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

The team is now worth more than $US1.3 billion, and he owns 97% of the equity in the club.

Getty Images

Source: Forbes

Jordan did sell a minority stake in the club in 2019, but he reportedly has no interest in giving up control of the team.

Streeter Lecka/Getty

Source: Charlotte Observer

According to Forbes, Jordan was the 455th-richest person in the US in 2018. He’s also the richest former professional athlete.


Source: Forbes, Forbes

For comparison, LeBron is estimated to earn less than $US90 million a year from salary, winnings, and endorsements.

Chris Szagola/AP

Source: Forbes

Nike founder Phil Knight called signing Jordan the best decision he ever made, nabbing the NBA rookie for $US250,000 a year in 1984.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Nike’s Jordan Brand alone now brings in more than $US3 billion in revenue each year.

AP/Anat Givon

Source: Business Insider

The popularity of Air Jordans has resurged in recent years thanks to celebrity partnerships to connect to a younger audience and new versions of retro styles to reconnect to the older fans.


more:Photos show the rise and fall of Nike’s iconic Air Jordan sneakers – and how the shoes are making a comeback 15 years after Michael Jordan’s retirement

Jordan Brand has even partnered with “Fortnite”

‘Fortnite’/Epic Games‘Fortnite’ players can unlock two new skins, Grind and Clutch, by purchasing the Hang Time bundle.

Read more:

Fortnite’ and Jordan Brand are teaming up for one of the game’s weirdest crossovers yet

Jordan reportedly wanted to sign with Adidas, but they passed because they preferred NBA players who were 7 feet tall.

Jonathan Daniel /Allsport

Source: Business Insider

He has several endorsement deals with companies like Gatorade …

Ezra Shaw/Getty

Source: Business Insider

… trading card company Upper Deck, …

Susan Ragan/AP

Source: Business Insider

… and Hanes. He’s been a spokesman for the company for nearly 30 years.


Source: Business Insider

MJ has always been picky about his endorsements because he wanted to be genuine and also build his own brand. He once rejected a huge endorsement deal with Beanee Weenees because he didn’t like the name.

From a 1992 interview with Playboy: “Two or three years ago Quaker Oats came to me to endorse Van Kamp’s pork and beans – Beanee Weenees, I think it was called,” Jordan said. “You ever heard of Beanee Weenees pork and beans? It was close to a million bucks a year. I’m saying, Beanee Weenees? How can I stand in front of a camera and say I’ll eat Beanee Weenees?”

At the time, Jordan had made about less than $US5 million in career earnings.

Read more: Michael Jordan once turned down a huge endorsement deal because he didn’t like the product’s name

He owns several restaurants including 1000 North in Jupiter, Florida …

Source: Business Insider, Eater

… Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse, which has locations in Connecticut, Washington, and Chicago …

Steve Kagan/Contributor/Getty Images

Source: Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse

… and Michael Jordan’s Restaurant in Chicago, an upscale restaurant serving “elevated American classics.”

Source: Michael Jordan’s Restaurant

He also owns a Nissan dealership in Durham, North Carolina.

Google Maps

Source: Business Insider, Michael Jordan Nissan

It’s estimated that he has made $US1.85 billion in his career in salaries and endorsements, the highest ever for an athlete as of 2017.

Jordan Brand via Getty Images

Source: Forbes

That steady stream of income lets him live a pretty amazing lifestyle.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

He has a private jet. It’s painted Carolina blue, and the ID number contains his jersey number (23) and number of titles (6).

Source: Business Insider

He spent $US12.8 million building his dream house in Florida in 2012.

Google Maps

Source: Yahoo, Business Insider

He reportedly decided to build a private golf course because he was annoyed by the pace of play at his current country club.

Isaac Brekken / Stringer / Getty Images


The Hobe Sound, Florida, course will be called Grove XXIII — keeping with his obsession with the No. 23 — and is expected to be open in 2019.

Isaac Brekken/Getty Images for Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational

Source: Golf Week

Jordan even has a custom, Carolina blue golf cart with the Jumpman logo.

Isaac Brekken/Stringer/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

He also has a $US2.8 million house near Charlotte.


Business Insider

It has some incredible lake views.

He’s selling his compound in Chicago, which was originally listed for $US29 million.

Source: Business Insider

But nearly seven years later, the house is still on the market and the price is down to $US14.9 million.

Source: Business Insider, Zillow

It has its own basketball court, as well as a pool with a patch of lawn in the middle of it.

Source: Business Insider

It is estimated that Jordan has paid more than $US680,000 in property taxes since he put the house up for sale.


Source: Business Insider

And he still pays a full-time staff to keep it up and running.

Source: Business Insider

Luxury real estate brokers think the amount of customisation the house has undergone in order to become MJ’s personal palace is one of a few reasons why the property hasn’t sold yet.

Streeter Lecka/Getty

Source: Business Insider

They also list the mismatch of location and price as a possible reason — homes in the Highland Park area were going for a median price of $US520,794 as of September. Homes at the pricepoint Jordan is listing for are typically located closer to Lake Michigan, according to The Real Deal.

Matt Dunham/AP Images

Source: Business Insider

In 2016, Jordan won a case against a Chinese sportswear company that was using his Chinese name.

Aly Song/Reuters

Source: Business Insider

The company had been using a logo similar to Jordan’s Air Jordan logo, and the symbols used spell out his name in Chinese — Qiaodan Sports. He first sued the company in 2012, but lower-level courts ruled in favour of the company.

Source: Business Insider

That’s not the only lawsuit he’s been involved in though pertaining to his name and branding. Two supermarkets, Dominick’s and Jewel-Osco, associated themselves with Jordan without his permission.

Chuck Burton/AP

Source: Business Insider

Jordan sued and won millions. But he didn’t keep all the money.

AP Photo/Christian K. Lee

Source: Business Insider

Instead, he donated millions to 23 charities benefiting the children of Chicago.

Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

Source: Business Insider

In 2016, Jordan also pledged two large donations to the NAACP Legal Defence Fund and the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s new Institute for Community-Police Relations. This came after a string of police-involved shootings.

Streeter Lecka/Getty

Source: Business Insider

More recently, he donated $US2 million to Hurricane Florence relief efforts.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Jordan has three children from his first marriage with Juanita Vanoy.

Jasmine M. Jordan/InstagramPictured here is an old family photo shared by Jordan’s daughter, Jasmine.

Source: Biography

The pair married in 1989 and got divorced in 2006. The 17-year marriage cost Jordan a whopping $US168 million in the settlement.

ReutersPictured above are Michael Jordan and his then-wife Juanita.

Source: Biography,NBC Chicago

Jordan’s three oldest children have all followed their father into the shoe business. Jeffrey, the oldest, works at Nike in Oregon, and Jasmine, the youngest, has worked for her father’s NBA team as well as being an Air Jordan representative in Charlotte.

Source: Business Insider

Marcus, Jordan’s second child, opened a boutique sneaker shop in Disney World called Trophy Room inspired by the trophy room in his house growing up.

Source: Business Insider, Bleacher Report

Jordan married Yvette Prieto in 2013, and they welcomed twin daughters, Victoria and Ysabel, in 2014.

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Source: USA Today

Jordan has invested some of his fortune in tech startups. He was reportedly one of several celebrities who invested heavily in Gigster — a Silicon Valley startup connecting companies to freelance software developers, designers, and project managers.

GigsterGigster cofounders Debo Olaosebikan, left, and Roger Dickey, right.

Source: Business Insider, Gigster

He is also a minority owner of an MLB team — the Miami Marlins — having been part of Derek Jeter’s investment group.

Tony Ding/AP

Source: Business Insider

Jordan is also a famous gambler. Charles Barkley told Dan Patrick Jordan used to wager hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single hole when he played golf. While others, like Barkley himself, would wager a few hundred dollars.

John Swart/AP

Source: Business Insider, Dan Patrick Show

He also used to play $US100 post-practice shooting games. One source said Jordan’s taunting of Rodney McCray may have ruined McCray’s career.

Jonathan Daniel /AllsportPictured above is Rodney McCray.

Source: Business Insider

He even took $US500 from a fan at a charity golf tournament when the fan said Jordan couldn’t land the ball on the green.

Isaac Brekken/Getty

Source: deepac66 via YouTube, Golf Digest

And he reportedly cheated in some bets with his teammates to make sure he won. ESPN’s Amin Elhassan said Jordan would bet his teammate, Scottie Pippen, on the outcome of mid-game, animated Jumbotron races, even though Jordan already knew which animated character would win.

John Swart/AP

Source: CBS Sports

He’s also reportedly competitive at other kinds of games, like video games. He beat level 100 on Bejeweled and became a Bejeweled Demigod — which one player said can take years to accomplish.

Pop Cap Games

Source: ESPN, Business Insider

And he reportedly won $US500 beating his business manager Estee Portnoy in sudoku.

Source: ESPN

Jordan plays a lot of golf. But, as Barkley put it, what’s the point in playing the sport if not for some cash?

Isaac Brekken / Getty

Source: Dan Patrick Show

He started playing the game while at UNC in a threesome with his then-roommate and Davis Love III.

Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Jordan reportedly took Love’s driver for a test-run once and ended up breaking the club completely. Love had to replace it, and it seems to have worked out in his favour — he went on to win 12 PGA Tour events during the 12 years he was using the replacement driver.

Isaac Brekken/Getty

Source: Business Insider

Jordan reportedly never travels overseas without a security team, which sets him back a cool $US1,000 to $US1,500 per hour. His codename is reportedly “Yahweh,” a Hebrew word for God.


Source: ESPN, Money

Mr. Terrible isn’t another of his nicknames, though — it’s the name of his 154-foot rented mega yacht.


Source: Business Insider, ESPN

The yacht is complete with it’s own branding.

Source: LaserAdvertising

The very first cars Jordan bought after he received his reported $US10 million signing bonus from the Chicago Bulls were a collection of Mercedes and Pontiacs. He bought seven cars at once for himself and his family members.

Steve Lagreca / ShutterstockHe bought his siblings a Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams, though the exact car is not pictured here.

Source: D Magazine

Since his rise to fame, he’s been spotted in all kinds of cars — and not just flashy sports cars either. He’s been seen driving Ferraris and Land Rovers alike.

BRIAN BAHR/Stringer/Getty Images

Source: Cheat Sheet

Jordan is well known for his love of cigars and told Cigar Aficionado magazine that he smokes six a day.

Donald Miralle/Getty Images

Source: Cigar Aficionado

At age 55, he still works out. In 2013, he declared he was going to get down to his playing weight of 218 pounds — it is unknown if he reached the goal.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Source: ESPN

His post-basketball career is already influencing the next generation. Kevin Garnett has talked about following in Jordan’s footsteps and buying the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Source: USA Today

In addition to winning six NBA championships, Jordan had won other prestigious awards. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom because, as Obama joked, Jordan is “more than just an Internet meme.”

Carlos Barria/Reuters

Source: Sports Illustrated

And Jordan is still waiting for the day the Hornets win a championship. He has said that winning a championship as an owner would be more gratifying than any of the six rings he won as a player.

Jeff Haynes/Staff/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

Now take a tour of the house Jordan can’t sell.

Concierge Auctions; Stephan Savoia/AP

Here’s Michael Jordan’s 56,000-square-foot house in Chicago, and why it’s still on the market after 6 years

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