Michael Jordan is one of the greatest basketball players of all time, if not the greatest.
6 times NBA champion, 5 times NBA Most Valuable Player, 6 times NBA Finals Most Valuable Player are some of his surface-level achievements in his playing career.
These are just some of the achievements, but if we were to dig deep and evaluate, far fewer people would deny that Michael Jordan is the GOAT.
But today we are not going to talk about, what an exceptional player Jordan is because the whole world knows that.
Today, we are going to establish the fact that Michael Jordan is not only the best basketball player to exist but also the best business person, sports has ever seen.
As of 2021, Michael Jordan is the richest athlete to ever exist with a net worth of 3.54 billion dollars. The second highest who is Tiger Woods is 700 million dollars behind.
Now, one might think he made all that money playing the NBA, but that’s just not true.
In the 15 seasons he played in the NBA he only made about 94 million dollars after cutting taxes.
How did he make the rest of the money? – let’s find out!
King of endorsements
A] The Nike deal
His first endorsement and still his most profitable came with Nike. But that deal almost did not happen.
Michael was reluctant to sign with Nike and instead wanted to shake hands with Adidas. But his mom convinced him to at least hear what Nike was offering.
Nike offered him a deal he could not refuse and the rest is history.
Michael Jordan became a Nike Athlete in 1984.
The deal that was given to Jordan was a whooping 500 thousand dollars annually for 5 years. They even gave him his own shoes which was unheard of at that time.
That move did pay off for Nike as we all know how popular the Air Jordans are!
In 2019 the Jordan brand made 3.1 billion dollars in revenue, and Michael earned 1.3 billion dollars as royalties.
B] Think out of the box
Michael Jordan made a fortune with Nike but he did not want to stop there. Jordan thought out of the box and made deals throughout his career that were not just restricted to the sports market.
He made a deal with Chevrolet in 1984 and a deal with General Mills which specializes in selling cereals.
He also signed a deal with Hanes, a clothing brand in 1989 for 10 million dollars but that’s not it.
A deal with with McDonald’s, Gatorade, and upperdeck which is a playing cards company, followed suit in the following years.
Now due to this exact diversification, he could target multiple markets and increase his presence. He would become the face of every company, and feature in top-class ads, that are now nostalgic and rememberable.
Michael Jordan did not just stick to his comfort zone and targeted the sports audience, instead, he trusted his business instinct and indulged in various sectors.
The companies who signed Michal Jordan rose in profits and popularity and so did the Michael Jordan brand.
Investments (the bigger game)
Michael bought a minority stake in the NBA team Charlotte Hornets in 2006 and later in 2010 he took majority control by paying 175 million dollars.
Michael could not have made this buy at a better time. His investment in Charlotte Hornets was at the perfect moment.
This is because the NBA signed a new TV deal with ESPN and also brought in new regulations, as a product of these changes the value of teams skyrocketed.
And when the market was hot Michael made his move and sold 20 percent of his equity in the Charlotte Hornets for 1.5 billion dollars!
In 2014 Michael Jordan became a billionaire.
Later, he invested in Miami Marlins (baseball team) and Sports Radar which is a company that provided data about players.
His latest two investments include a deal with Axiomatic which is the parent company of an E-sports team called Team Liquid. Then he also indulged in a tequila brand called Cincora.
To top it all off, he has restaurant chains present all over the country!
Michael Jordan is the brand.
What Michael Jordan did and continues to do so, is that he capitalizes and makes the most of his name. He is the brand that keeps everything running at its heart.
With handpicked and intentional diverse investments, Michael Jordan exudes his brand image on any endorsement he commits to.
This is exactly how Tiger Woods, Cristiano Ronaldo, Conor McGregor, and many such others go about their business.
But the first to do it and set the trend will always be the elite of basketball – Michael Jordan.
A business lesson, a branding session, and a masterclass on and off the field!
Michael Jordan, the greatest of all time still, at 58 years of age.