Michael Jordan, Now Worth $3.5 Billion, Is The Richest Basketball Player Ever
His Airness is the NBA GOAT of making money.
Michael Jordan isn’t just the greatest basketball player of all time—he’s also the wealthiest.
The NBA icon’s sale of his stake in the Charlotte Hornets earlier this month set his net worth at an estimated $3.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which calculated Jordan’s fortune for the first time.
Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles and won five MVP awards, became the league’s second Black majority owner in 2010 when he bought a controlling stake in the Hornets, then known as the Bobcats. But it was that legendary licensing agreement with Nike in the 1980s that really built his multi-billion dollar fortune.
However, the sale of Jordan’s Hornets stake drove his dizzying wealth to even greater levels, Bloomberg reports.
The Hornets stake sale follows a standout 2022 for sports team transactions and affirms the NBA’s status among the world’s most profitable leagues. Its franchises have soared in value in recent years as billionaires have used their vast wealth to become owners. Mat Ishbia, who founded wholesale mortgage lender UWM Holdings Corp., agreed last year to buy more than 50% of the Phoenix Suns in a record deal that valued the club at $4 billion.
Jordan sold his ownership in the Hornets to a group led by Gabe Plotkin, founder of Melvin Capital Management, and Rick Schnall, co-president of private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. As part of the $3 billion deal, Jordan retains an undisclosed minority stake, according to the team. Bloomberg’s estimate assumes he sold a 65% stake in the team and kept a less than 5% interest.
Jordan has also invested in other sports-related businesses, Bloomberg adds.
In 2020, he launched Nascar’s 23XI Racing, whose roster includes Bubba Wallace, the circuit’s only Black driver. That same year, Jordan received an equity interest in DraftKings, where he serves as a special adviser to the board. The size of his stake in the massive sports-betting company, which started trading publicly in April 2020, is undisclosed.
“Now is the right time for me to hand over the reins,” Jordan, 60, said in an August 3 open letter to Hornets fans. “I’m excited to see what the future holds, and I look forward to supporting the team and the community in my new role for many years to come.”
In recent years, other athletes have pursued their own long-term brand deals with sports apparel lines in the hopes of being “like Mike.” Under Armour Inc. announced in March that it reached a long-term deal with NBA star Steph Curry for his Curry Brand that includes an annual cash payment, incentives, royalties and stock.
And NBA star LeBron James built up a roughly $1.5 billion fortune through sponsorships, investments and his own consumer and entertainment business, the SpringHill Co., according to the index.
Simeon Siegel, an analyst for BMO Capital Markets, told Bloomberg that Jordan brand has “transcended” him as a player. Many of its customers are too young to have even seen him play professional basketball.
“Jordan the person and Jordan the brand have helped shape Nike as well as the entire athletic apparel landscape,” he said.