Michael Jordan hasn’t been on the court in over ten years, but that doesn’t mean the former athlete has stopped making money. According to Forbes, the famous Chicago Bulls player made $90 million last year, making him the highest paid retired athlete. Among current athletes, Jordan still comes in second place, right behind Floyd Mayweather. And it’s all thanks to his trademark shoe, the Air Jordan, for making his bank account grow.
Last year, the Air Jordan earned Nike $2.25 billion in revenue (compared the LeBron James’ $300 million shoe line). Just this weekend the Air Jordan 10 “Powder Blue” sneaker went on sale; selling $35 million in its first day. Forbes says that Jordan’s $90 million is more than he’s ever made any year playing basketball – he peaked in 1997 at $80 million. Now, as one in every two basketball shoes sold in the US are Air Jordans, the Nike partnership with Jordan looks to only keep growing.
Forbes estimates that Jordan’s cut from Nike was around $75 million; the other $15 million come from his other endorsements with brands such as Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, and his ownership of seven restaurants, a car dealership, and 80% of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Jordan began his career over three decades ago, after playing for the North Carolina Tarheels and gaining national attention with his game-winning 3-point shots. Immediately Nike saw his potential, and after Jordan was drafted to the Bulls, he signed a five-year contract with the brand worth half a million per year. In 1984, Michael hit the court in the first ever pair of Air Jordans – in a classic Bulls red and black. Twenty years later, the shoe brand is stronger than ever, and Michael still proves to be a dominant figure in the sports industry.
Image via Wikimedia Commons