Michael Jordan turns 50 on Sunday and retrospectives of his career have been getting heavy airtime this week. The highlights include his six titles with the Chicago Bulls, his impact on athlete marketing and countless unforgettable moments on the court (“flu” game; switching hands driving the lane; the “shot” versus the Cavs). Los Angeles Lakers forward Antawn Jamison opined last week that Jordan could still average double-digit points in the NBA. I think it is safe to say we’ve seen the last of MJ soaring above the rim after hitting the half-century mark with three retirements already under his belt. But Jordan the business? It is stronger than ever.
Jordan earned an estimated $80 million last year from corporate partners Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, 2K Sports, Presbyterian Healthcare and Five Star Fragrances. Other Jordan assets include six restaurants, a North Carolina car dealership, a motorsports team and his 80-percent stake in the Charlotte Bobcats. Jordan out-earns almost every member of the world’s highest-paid athletes 10 years after his last NBA game (Floyd Mayweather topped Forbes’ June 2012 list with earnings of $85 million).
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