NBA

Michael Jordan Named to Forbes' 'World Billionaires' List

Dec 21, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan unveils the new Charlotte Hornets logo at halftime during the game against the Utah Jazz at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2016

Michael Jordan may want to consider changing his nickname to "His Billionaireness."

The NBA legend was named to Forbes' "World Billionaires" list for the second straight year Wednesday, with a net worth valued at $1.14 billion. He is the 1,577th-richest person on the planet and No. 486 in the United States. That marks an ascent of nearly 200 spots from 2015, when Jordan ranked 1,741st worldwide in his first appearance on the list.

Nearly half of Jordan's assets are tied to the Charlotte Hornets franchise. His 90 percent share is valued at around $500 million, which is likely a low estimate given the rapid rise in purchase figures for sports franchises. Given the fact Jordan's initial investment in the franchise was just $175 million, it's safe to say he made a smart investment.

Jordan is the only current or former athlete on the billionaires list. There are a number of team owners littering the list, though nearly all were independently wealthy before getting involved in sports.

Jordan's empire has been built in basketball. His wildly lucrative deal with Nike on the Jordan Brand shoes began in 1984, expanding to become the most powerful entity in the shoe game. The Air Jordan released its 30th iteration in February, and the brand makes billions annually on the back of new releases and retros.

"It makes me proud. Yeah, it does," Jordan Brand athlete Carmelo Anthony said, per ESPN.com's Scoop Jackson. "I remember getting there and seeing where the business was then. I remember sitting in the airport in 2006, coming from the world championship, and I remember when the brand had just hit a billion, and to see where it's at right now—[nearly $3 billion in sales]—that's a lot. That's a lot of growth to be a part of."

Jordan also continues to bring home endorsement cash from Gatorade, Hanes and Upper Deck more than a decade after his playing career ended. The vastness of Jordan's empire—especially given its relative containment to one medium—in many ways mirrors that of Dr. Dre in music. Both Dre and Jordan made perfect investments in themselves and what they knew at the right time, and it's paying massive dividends as both enter their early 50s.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter.

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