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Michael Jordan makes more money now than when he played

Sep 23, 2011, 12:45 PM EDT

Michael Jordan dunk

It’s good to be Michael Jordan. Even if you do own the Bobcats.

Last year, Jordan made twice as much money as he did with his largest contract playing in the NBA, according to Forbes Magazine.

In the 1996-97 season, Jordan made $30.1 million, the season after that $33.1 million. (The Riensdorf and Kraus broke up the Bulls.) By the way, before those years Jordan’s highest salary was $4 million, so the Bulls made a lot of money off him before they had to pay up.

Now, well, it’s good to be the king.

We estimate that Jordan earned $60 million over the past year mainly through his endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, 2K Sports and Five Star Fragrances. He also owns five restaurants and a car dealership in North Carolina. His annual earnings are greater than any other sports figure save Tiger Woods who topped our world’s highest-paid athletes this year….

When it comes to Jordan’s annual earnings, Nike is his meal ticket and why his endorsement earnings are now higher than when he played. Jordan signed a five-year, $2.5 million pact with Nike in 1984 out of college. The Jordan Brand exploded and now has annual revenues of more than $1 billion with MJ getting a piece of the action. Athletes in the Jordan stable include Derek Jeter, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Denny Hamlin. The Jordan Brand’s market share of the U.S. basketball shoe market is 71% according to SportsOneSource.

Notice the Bobcats are not on that list of money makers.

Just so we’re clear, Jordan last played for the Bulls 13 years ago and last played for the Wizards eight years ago (but we really try to repress the memory of those years). Yet he has been able to remain above the fray, a political and largely out of trouble, which has helped keep his image clean and endorsement deals in tact.

Take notes on how that is done, LeBron.

  1. amitko - Sep 23, 2011 at 2:12 PM

    I think it should be “than” and not “then”. Sigh

    • daydreamer3075 - Dec 11, 2011 at 11:54 AM

      Unless they’ve edited the title after your post, they have it correct as “than,” the proper word to use when making comparisons…..

  2. dunkenstein1 - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:41 PM

    When calculating Jordan’s income in his final two years with the Bulls, you neglect to consider what he made from endorsements. So it’s not really a jump from $33.1M to $60M.

  3. dmq13 - Sep 23, 2011 at 7:09 PM

    In other news…The sky is blue!

  4. ch4wordpress - Oct 21, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    The sad thing about the Charlotte bobcats is the NBA should have made that club, like they shouldnt have let the charlotte hornets move to new orleans. The charlotte and new orleans organizations have to both go. That to me is the first step toward doing the right thing to correct the NBA. the owners dilemma

    • bozosforall - Dec 8, 2011 at 3:16 PM

      I think that YOUR team should be the one contracted.

  5. shag12 - Nov 3, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    Who gives a damn about how much money his tennis shoes make. None of the jobs are here, and the countries where they are made, the people are paid chump change. I’ve never bought his shoes, and never will. Nike id effing greedy, and Jordan refuses to take a stand.

  6. mistercharitystripe34 - Dec 23, 2011 at 12:13 AM

    Michael Jordan is insanely rich. Who knew?

  7. gmsingh - Dec 27, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    Unfortunately, it’s been decades since Jordan has been involved with anything that could be called quality basketball.

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