Breaking news: Michael Jordan is still super rich and marketable.
Forbes.com, the world's leading expert in determining and ranking the wealth of rich people, reports that Jordan actually made more money off the court in 2011 than he did during his career, even though nearly a decade has passed since his retirement.
We estimate that Jordan earned $60 million over the past year mainly through his endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, 2K Sports and Five Star Fragrances. He also owns five restaurants and a car dealership in North Carolina. His annual earnings are greater than any other sports figure save Tiger Woods who topped our world’s highest-paid athletes this year.Well, now we know what television commentator Charles Barkley was talking about when he recently said that a $100,000 fine Jordan received from the NBA for violating the league's lockout gag order was just a "drop in the bucket" for his golfing buddy. My goodness.
At Jordan’s peak during his playing career, he was making $50 million off the court through sponsorships. He also banked $63 million in combined salary during his last two years with the Bulls.
By comparison, Forbes.com also notes that Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard Kobe Bryant is the leading current NBA player in endorsement income, netting $53 million. Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James checks in at $48 million. Those numbers include their current salaries.
You can also look at it this way: Jordan, who recently became the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, took home more in endorsement money last year than he is currently scheduled to pay in salary to his entire team in 2011-2012. StoryTellersContracts.com estimates that the Bobcats will spend $53 million to pay 11 players next season.
Forbes atributes Jordan's outstanding earning power to his popularity, likeability, the fact that he generally avoided scandals and controversies during his career and that he didn't face the same scrutiny as athletes of today.