Michael Jordan Becomes All Time-Richest Athlete Beating Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather

Published 11/05/2021, 8:30 AM EDT
Golf – The 2020 Ryder Cup – Whistling Straits, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, U.S. – September 25, 2021 Michael Jordan watches the action by the 11th green during the Four-balls REUTERS/Mike Segar


Michael Jordan is the main reason the NBA is the most popular league. Likewise, he earned a lot of money throughout his career. Being one of the most recognizable athletes and one of the best to ever do it, he is one of the most successful athletes ever.

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Dedicating his life to the sport of basketball, he ranks as the highest-paid athlete in history. Jordan was a magician on the court and caught eyes in no time. Most known for his time with the Bulls, Jordan earned billions of dollars throughout his career.

NEW YORK, NY – AUGUST 26: Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan watches as Roger Federer of Switzerland plays against Marinko Matosevic of Australia at their men’s singles first round tennis match on second day of the 2014 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 26, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Bilgin Sasmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

However, a big surprise is that most of that income did not come through him playing basketball. So just how did Michael Jordan become a billionaire with minimal income coming from his playing time?

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Jordan is listed as the highest-paid athlete of all time, earning $2.62 billion. Spending much of his life on the court, one would expect most of his earnings to have come from him playing. However, that isn’t the case. Surprisingly, only 6% of his income came from playing for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards.

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Michael Jordan is a business mastermind

How did Jordan become the highest-paid athlete of all time? The answer to that is the money he got through endorsements. Jordan is associated with various brands such as Nike, Gatorade, and Upper Deck. However, most of his income comes from his partnership with Nike and their Jordan brand.

Having started off with a base pay of $500,000 during his rookie year, Michael Jordan is estimated to earn $150 million dollars through royalties from Nike in 2021. His Jordan brand is evergreen and still continues to grow. Partnerships with Travis Scott and other famous entities only increase the value of the brand.

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Likewise, as the value of the Jordan brand goes up, the more money MJ will get. Even after two decades of his retirement, he continues to get large sums of money for his affiliation with Nike.

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Jordan has also expanded himself with E-sports and a NASCAR team. Hence, he continues to win even after hanging his boots and continues to increase the distance between him and his peers. He beats multiple basketball players on the list, such as LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, and Shaq.

Do you think anyone will beat Jordan to become the highest-paid athlete? Let us know in the comments below.

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Anuj Talwalkar

501 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.

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