Michael Jordan Is The Richest Athlete In The World

by : Cameron Frew on : 20 Jul 2020 16:32
Michael Jordan Is The Richest Athlete In The WorldPA Images

Michael Jordan: the best basketball player to ever grace the court, and the world’s richest athlete. 

The Chicago Bulls legend is one of the most recognisable sports personalities on Earth. After six NBA titles, sponsorship deals with Nike and Gatorade, and even appearing in Space Jam, you’d have to be living under a rock to never have heard of him.


There’s no shortage of rich athletes. Patrick Mahomes emerged as the world’s highest-paid athlete recently, following his $503 million contract with Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. However, when it comes to net worth, they’re all puny compared to Jordan.

Michael JordanPA Images

Forbes’ latest estimate of Jordan’s wealth sits at $1.6 billion, making him the richest athlete in the world. This has slipped slightly from the previous figure of $2.1 billion, but it’s still an eye-watering amount of money.

He didn’t exactly make pennies on the court – in NBA salary, he made $90 million with $63 million coming from his final two seasons with the Chicago Bulls, a hot focus of The Last Dance on Netflix. His post-basketball career is where his wealth has soared, bringing in around $1.7 billion (pre-tax).


In the number two spot is Ion Tiriac, a former Romanian tennis player whose net worth stands at $1.2 billion, thanks to a number of ventures in real estate, financial services and more.

Jordan’s surging net worth can be traced back to 1984, when he signed a sponsorship deal with Nike for $250,000 a year. Although, his heart was initially set on Adidas, until his mother told him: ‘You’re going to go listen. You may not like it, but you’re going to go listen.’ He said: ‘She made me get on that plane and go listen.’

Air JordanPA Images

As reported by Business Insider, Nike’s Air Jordan brand brings in around $3 billion every year in revenue. He also owns several restaurants, a car dealership, and a number of sponsorship deals with Hanes, Gatorade and Upper Deck, all contributing to his mountainous wealth.

One of his most significant investments came in 2010, when he bought a majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets for $175 million. The club is now worth more than $1.5 billion, and Jordan owns 97% of its equity.

Charlotte Hornets owner Michael JordanPA Images

It’s safe to say he won’t be letting go of the Hornets anytime soon, despite selling a minority stake back in September 2019. He’s still waiting for them to win a championship, which he says would be more gratifying than any victory he had as a player.


Jordan was set to earn around $3-4 million from Netflix’s latest docuseries, but he opted to donate all of the money to charity. On June 5, he and his Nike brand announced a $100 million investment ‘over 10 years to organizations fighting for racial quality, social justice, and greater access to education’.


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He also reportedly built his own private golf course because he didn’t like the pace of play elsewhere. Must be nice, eh?

The Last Dance is available to stream on Netflix now.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Sport, Athletes, basketball, Michael Jordan, Net Worth, Now, Rich List, US


Forbes and 1 other
  1. Forbes

    #1001 Michael Jordan

  2. Business Insider

    How Michael Jordan makes and spends his $2.1 billion fortune