Plenty of pro athletes are millionaires — hundreds of them, in fact. Basketball is filled with guys in their mid-twenties making millions every year. But what about billionaires? This benchmark is harder to reach. It doesn’t just take skill on the court; it takes ruthless business acumen and a head for investment. Of all the billionaire athletes (the list is short and distinguished), where does Michael Jordan land?
Here’s what Michael Jordan makes in an hour
With the release of the Last Dance, Jordan is on everyone’s minds. His life, as well as his finances, are under a microscope. Back in April of 2020, Business Insider sat down and did the math in an attempt to figure out how Jordan’s staggering net worth compares to average people like you and me.
It should be noted that Jordan’s net worth has done nothing but skyrocket, growing by leaps and bounds since he retired. According to Forbes, Jordan first hit the billionaire’s club back in 2015. In the five years since, he has more than doubled that net worth, accumulating a staggering two billion dollars. How do crazy numbers like that relate to the average working man?
The way Business Insider figures it, Jordan earns roughly $34,246 dollars an hour. How did they arrive at a number like that? Using Forbes and its “Richest People in the World” lists, they saw Jordan’s net worth climb from $1.85 billion in 2019 to $2 billion in 2020. That’s about $300 million dollars in a single year. Then they divided that number by 8,760, the number of hours in a year, which results in $34,246. Not bad for an hour’s work.
How does his salary stack up?
Given that Jordan makes enough to buy a new car roughly every hour, how does a salary like that compare to the average joe? For starters, reports Business Insider, Jordan makes the American’s median income, just over $48,000, in only an hour and half. That means he more than likely makes your yearly salary in the time it takes to watch an average length movie.
Secondly, it would only take Jordan about 16 hours to earn the equivalent of what a college-educated person makes in their lifetime. That number is approximately two million dollars. Hopefully you haven’t thrown your hands up in disgust yet.
Here’s something that might make you feel better: During his time in the NBA, Jordan wasn’t as well paid as some of his teammates. Scottie Pippen made $16 million dollars more than Jordan did over the course of their respective careers. In fact, according 24/7 Sports, Jordan doesn’t even make the top 50 list of highest paid basketball players in history, which begs the question, “How did he become the richest professional athlete alive?”
How did Jordan get so rich?
Here’s the short answer: Go ask Nike. Here’s the slightly more in-depth version: endorsements, endorsements, wise investments, and a few more endorsements.
All joking aside, Nike played a huge role in Jordan’s accumulated wealth. Some authorities, like the previously-cited Forbes and Business Investor, figure that Jordan makes upwards of $100 million a year off royalties from his immensely popular Air Jordan sneaker. In fact, there is no other shoe worldwide that’s more well-known or more consistently-selling than Jordan’s shoes.
Jordan has also been a wise investor. Aside from numerous real estate holdings, Jordan also owns the Charlotte Hornets, a move that rocketed his net worth ahead by light years.
So who else is fortunate enough to keep company with Jordan in the billionaire’s club? Not many. Jordan himself is the richest athlete in the world, followed by Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and Michael Schumacher. That is pretty exclusive company to keep.