Michael Jordan‘s sale of his stake in the Charlotte Hornets has seen his net worth hit around $3.5 billion, making him the richest basketball player of all time, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which is calculating his fortune for the first time.
The massive fortune of the NBA legend comes after he sold his majority stake in the Hornets for $3 billion to a consortium led by Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall. However, Jordan is transitioning to become a minority owner. Bloomberg now estimates his stake to be 5%.
In a letter to the Hornets faithful, Jordan thanked them for their unwavering support during the tenure.
“As Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, and their ownership group, now take a controlling stake in the team, and I transition to becoming a minority owner, I want to say Thank You to Hornets fans for all the love and dedication you’ve shown the franchise and to me over the years,” the letter noted. “We’ve had some unforgettable moments together, as well as a few challenging ones, but through it all, you’ve remained committed to us.”
In 2021, Sportico reported Jordan as one of the highest-paid athletes, earning at least $2 billion. Per the data published, Jordan tops the rankings with $2.62 billion, with at least $1 billion coming from Nike as royalties since he retired from the NBA.
Jordan, since retiring from the NBA, took to entrepreneurship and also became one of the few Black billionaires in the world. A large chunk of his wealth comes from his paycheck from Nike, which has been his biggest financial and marketing backer.
He became the first athlete to become a billionaire – his massive net worth was largely influenced by his deal with Nike, which would later give birth to Air Jordan.
According to Forbes, Nike first offered Jordan a five-year deal with a base pay of $500,000 per year, triple any other NBA sneaker deal. The first Air Jordan sneaker was an instant hit, racking up $126 million in sales in the first 12 months.
As the Jordan brand got bigger, so did his paycheck. In 2020, Jordan reportedly made $130 million from Nike, which Forbes estimates was four times bigger than what LeBron James earned.
In the fiscal year ending May 2019, Forbes reported that the Jordan brand had amassed $3.1 billion as revenue. Forbes also reported that the brand is easily “worth north of $10 billion, in addition to the billions of dollars in profits it has generated over 35 years, and its halo impact on sales of other Nike-branded products.”
The over 36-year partnership with Nike earned Jordan $1.3 billion, and in 2022, Forbes estimated his net worth to be $1.7 billion.