Michael Jordan has been credited as having the highest net worth of an athlete, and despite being able to negotiate higher than average salaries as a player he made considerably more from his various endorsements, especially after retiring in 2003.
His passion for winning and competitiveness worked on the basketball court and followed him into his other pursuits when he left the game – and is part of the reason that he is well-known for his love of playing casino games like blackjack, poker, and baccarat. Getting a winning streak like Jordan in an online casino like Virgin Games means you can play slots online or try your hand at poker to ‘be like Mike’.
While his gaming efforts in the casinos might not have been as successful as the way he played throughout his basketball career, Michael Jordan is more than just a celeb that enjoys a couple of hands of poker – he has impressed some serious poker players with his knowledge of the game and finesse in winning when it counts.
Michael Jordan’s Humble Beginnings
Although he was born In Brooklyn, New York to a bank employee mother and an equipment supervisor father in 1963, the family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina when he was five.
Throughout his school years, he showed great prowess in playing basketball, baseball, and football – and when he got to high school, he wanted to join the varsity team – but couldn’t make the height as a junior as he was only 5’11.
However, when he made it as a senior in the varsity team, he started demonstrating exactly why he would become Rookie of The Year in 1985 – his winning ways, ability to play under incredible pressure, and athleticism on the court saw him make it to the 1981 McDonald’s All-American Game.
When the time came for college, basketball scholarships were offered from several places, including Duke and Syracuse, but he chose to stay in North Carolina to major in cultural geography. Improving his game and making waves throughout his college career, he left before graduating in 1984 to join the NBA, where he was the third pick in the draft for the Chicago Bulls, who he played with for much of his playing career.
The Fan Favourite
With so much going for him in both his gameplay, his outlook, and his personality, Jordan quickly became a fan favourite – although that didn’t always go down well with his team mates.
He made an impact on Nike, who were quick to get him on board by designing a shoe for him, the signature shoe that is known as the Air Jordan. This signature shoe made such an impact on the world that it led to great hype and demand, even cases of ‘shoe-jacking’ where the sneakers were being stolen with weapons.
One of the major ways that Michael Jordan earned his money is through several long-standing endorsement relationships. Aside from the Nike connection, Michael Jordan has also been endorsed by Gatorade, with around 20 commercials including the ones that feature the ‘be like Mike’ tagline and song.
Other notable endorsements include Coca-Cola, Chevrolet, and McDonald’s – and it is mostly since his retirement that he has had time to make all the adverts.
In fact, it is estimated that from 2008, Michael Jordan made an annual income of more than $40 million from endorsements alone.
Jordan has invested his earnings in several different places, following his passions in basketball but also outside of the game. Although not all the details of his investments are known, it has been recognised that he co-owns an automotive group, owns several restaurants, and has even invested in a golf club that is being built in Florida.
He started Michael Jordan Motorsports, a professional motorcycle racing team that started in 2004, culminating with two Suzuki bikes in the 2013 season, and now he has turned his attention to NASCAR, starting a team known as 23XI.
Of course, Michael Jordan still features prominently in basketball. When he first retired, he became the part owner and president of the Washington Wizards, managing them for two years until 2001, and then playing for them until 2003 when he finally retired.
He became the second-largest shareholder of the Charlotte Bobcats (now known as the Charlotte Hornets) and was titled the Managing Member of Basketball Operations – although the team haven’t exactly set the world on fire with their playing proficiency.
As the sixth richest African American in the world (behind Oprah and Rihanna) and the first NBA player to become a billionaire, Jordan has become synonymous with philanthropy. He has made sizable donations to some causes, and vocally supported others throughout his years. Some of the philanthropic work that he has completed includes:
- Charity golf tournaments
- Working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation
- Funded Family Centres
- Hurricane Relief
- Donated his player salary at the Washington Wizards to 9/11 relief funds
- Helped with recovery efforts after some hurricanes
- Pledged $100 million over 10 years following the George Floyd debacle to organisations working for racial equality and social justice.
With Forbes reporting that the net worth of Michael Jordan currently stands at around $1.7 billion in 2022, his savvy business deals and excellent investments help to support him in providing financial support to the causes that mean the most to him – and allow him to engage in some fun too, like at the poker tables and buying performance cars and motorbikes.