AFRICANGLOBE – Michael Jordan has become the first former or current North American pro athlete to make Forbes’ annual billionaires list, the magazine revealed on Monday.
Forbes rated Jordan as the 1,741st richest person in the world – and 513th in the United States – with an estimated net worth of $1bn.
The 52-year-old Jordan, whose playing career ended in 2003, became an 80% shareholder in the Charlotte Bobcats on a valuation of roughly $275m in 2010. That stake jumped to 89% in 2013.
Forbes said the value of Jordan’s majority shares climbed sharply when ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer bought the Los Angeles Clippers for $2bn last year, lifting the values of all NBA teams. The magazine estimates Jordan’s stake in the team, which rebranded as the Hornets last year, is now worth more than $700m.
Ballmer’s purchase was enough to elevate three current NBA owners into the billionaire ranks: Jordan, Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander and Chicago Bulls owner (and Jordan’s old boss) Jerry Reinsdorf.
Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, still has lucrative endorsement deals with Gatorade, Hanes and Upper Deck, but he reportedly earned $90m from Nike’s Jordan Brand subsidiary in 2013, which did an estimated $2.25bn in sales that year, Forbes said.
Forbes, which has compiled its billionaires list since 1987, said it calculated each person’s wealth based on stock prices and exchange rates on 13 February 2015.
There were 1,826 billionaires on this year’s list, up from 1,645 in 2014, the magazine said.