Sports

The Richest Athlete Alive Behind Michael Jordan Is a Man You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Michael Jordan‘s $2.2 billion net worth gives him the new title of richest former athlete in the world, but you’ve probably never even heard of the man right below him on the list. There’s a former athlete worth $1.2 billion, but it isn’t LeBron James or Tom Brady or Tiger Woods. It isn’t even an athlete who played professional sports in America. So, who is this mystery man and how did he become so rich?

Michael Jordan just became the richest athlete in the world

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Michael Jordan recently overtook the top spot for the richest athlete in the world. His net worth has soared to $2.2 billion in 2020.

Jordan made only $93 million of his wealth from his NBA contracts, but his endorsements and business ventures off the court helped his net worth skyrocket in retirement. This is actually the first year in his life Jordan has been considered the richest athlete on earth.

Before Jordan, a much lesser-known, multisport Romanian athlete held the title of richest athlete alive for much of the last decade.

Ion Tiriac is the second-richest former athlete alive

Surprised to see this name so high on the list? You’re not alone.

Ion Tiriac isn’t a household name, but his success as a multisport athlete and businessman in retirement has made him one of the richest athletes alive. In fact, he was the single richest former athlete in the world for much of the past decade before Jordan dethroned him this year.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Tiriac’s current net worth is $1.2 billion, but who was he as an athlete?

Tiriac was a professional hockey and tennis player from Romania. He played both sports throughout the 1960s and ’70s. As a tennis player, Tiriac played both singles and doubles professionally. He was more successful in doubles, where he won 22 titles and even a French Open in 1968.

In the 1964 Olympics, Tiriac also played for the Romanian men’s national hockey team. The squad went 1-4-1 during the Olympics, but reaching the pinnacle in two sports is impressive nonetheless.

Ion Tiriac’s many business ventures made him a billionaire

After retiring from hockey and tennis, Tiriac became a full-time tennis coach and manager. He mentored legendary players such as Mary Joe Fernandez, Steffi Graf, and Boris Becker, among others. He was elected into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2013.

His massive wealth started to accumulate when he entered the business world, however. In 1990, Tiriac founded a bank in Romania and named it Banca Tiriac. He parlayed his bank’s success into many other business avenues, including a real estate empire. Today, Tiriac also owns multiple car dealerships, retail businesses, and even an airline.

The most substantial way Tiriac spends his billions is on cars. As of last year, Tiriac owned more than 400 vehicles.

He once said, “I have every single Ferrari that came out. I have all the Mercedes they came out with, all the Jaguars they came out with, all the Porsches they came out with.”

Tiriac built his net worth into a massive $2 billion at one point. It has since dropped to $1.2 billion in 2020, but it’s safe to say he won’t be sweating the dip too much.