After retiring more than 20 years ago from the court, Michael Jordan’s presence still dominates in at least one category: shoes.
According to Forbes‘ latest ranking of the NBA’s biggest shoe deals, out Aug. 28, the athlete made $145 million in the fiscal year ended May 2019 — with $130 million of that coming from his eponymous Nike-owned shoe label. That figure was far higher than what other players earned from sneakers, proving that more than 20 years after retirement, Jordan is still plenty bankable.
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How Do Jordan’s Shoe Earnings Compare to Other Players?
From shoes alone, Jordan earned quadruple that of the second highest-earning player — LeBron James, with $32 million. Although the Chicago Bulls legend has been retired for around two decades and receives no NBA salary (compared to James’ $36 million per year from the Los Angeles Lakers), his shoe money easily tops James’ earnings. While Jordan brought in $145 million on the year, James took home more than $50 million less ($89 million in 2018).
What Players Are Signed to Jordan Brand?
Arguably, Jordan himself remains the face of his brand. For instance, the sportswear company’s logo features Jordan dunking mid-air. Nonetheless, Jordan Brand has a roster with more than 20 athletes, most of them NBA stars. And the brand recently added more big-name power in the form of Zion Williamson, this year’s No. 1 NBA Draft pick.
Scooping Williamson came at no small cost to the sneaker giant. His deal reportedly spans seven years with a $75 million payout. Russell Westbrook is another high-profile baller signed to the brand. He makes $12 million annually from the contract and has a signature shoe called Why Not Zer0. Other Jordan Brand athletes include Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony.
How Much Do Sneaker Deals Matter in the NBA?
For an NBA star, sneaker endorsements are a big chance to make money. Although the top players can earn over $30 million annually from action on the hardwood, shoe deals tend to represent the biggest off-court endorsement opportunity. Well-known stars can make two or three times from sneakers what they earn from all their other paid partnerships combined. For instance, Kevin Durant’s Nike deal reportedly garnered him $30.4 million last year — compared with just $9 million from other opportunities.
As arguably the NBA’s most recognizable face, James brought in far more through non-shoe endorsements than other stars. He took home $21 million from deals with brands like Coca-Cola, Kia and Beats Electronics; the second highest-paid stars on the list in terms of non-sneaker partnerships were Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo (tied with $9 million).
What’s Jordan’s Net Worth?
Michael Jordan is worth a whopping $1.9 billion, Forbes reported, with $1.4 billion coming from corporate sponsorships. In addition to the Jordan deal, the star owns a majority stake in an NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets. He purchased the stake in 2010 for $175 million; today, the Hornets are worth more than $1 billion, with Jordan owning 90% of that.
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