The list of the wealthiest athletes of all time has been revealed, and it looks like the NBA reigns supreme.
Michael Jordan has won the money-making crown thanks to an amassed fortune of $2.62 billion based on inflation-adjusted earnings, according to Sportico, a digital sports business publication. But like many millionaires (and billionaires), the money begins to increase ten-fold once the portfolio starts to diversify. For example, during his rookie season with Chicago Bulls, Jordan only earned $500,000.
In fact, despite a career that spanned from 1984 to 2003 and ended with the Washington Wizards, only 6% of his wealth came directly from his performance on the basketball court. Now some 20 years later, his Airness’ sneaker empire under the Nike umbrella is still growing at such an exponential rate that he’s set to earn up to $150 million dollars through royalties from the Swoosh in 2021 alone.
The top five sports earners also consists of some talented golfers like Tiger Woods, clocking in at #2 with $2.1 billion, followed closely by #3 Arnold Palmer with $1.5 billion and #4 Jack Nicklaus with $1.38 billion. Finally, the list takes a turn at #5, with international soccer superstar Cristiano pocketing $1.24 billion.
Jordan has also expanded himself with other ventures like his NASCAR team, dubbed 23XI Racing, which recently saw success when Bubba Wallace became just the second Black driver to win NASCAR’s Cup Series race, the association’s top series.
Jordan is also the first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup team since 1973, with the rest owned by racer Denny Hamlin.
“I’m so happy for Bubba and our entire 23XI Racing team,” Jordan said in a statement. “This is a huge milestone and a historic win for us. From the day we signed him, I knew Bubba had the talent to win, and Denny and I could not be more proud of him. Let’s go!”
The only current NBA player to hit a billi is LeBron James, with a net worth of $1.7 billion.
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