Make fun of the Charlotte Bobcats all you want. Owner Michael Jordan and his famous sneakers are still running all the way to the bank.
The NBA legend made about $90 million last year, according to Forbes — his most ever, and the highest amount since he raked in $80 million while playing for the Chicago Bulls in 1997-1998, his last year with the team and his final championship season. The huge net — which is more than any retired or current athlete earned in 2013 except Floyd Mayweather Jr. — came from his still highly lucrative partnership with Nike.
Jordan’s Air Jordan 10 “Powder Blue” retro sneaker, released Saturday, pulled in $35 million on the first day of sales, according to Forbes. Last year alone, Jordan’s retail items made $2.25 billion worth in sales, compared to LeBron James’ $300 million. Adidas’ biggest seller, Derrick Rose, had $40 million worth of his signature shoes sold.
Jordan has been working with Nike since his rookie year, when he famously signed the first huge shoe deal in history and kept wearing his signature sneakers in games despite regular $5,000 fines from the NBA (which Nike paid). That endorsement led to his eventual Air Jordan line, which has spawned dozens of styles and colors that have developed a cult following of their own. About half of Jordan’s total Nike shoe sales are for retro shoes, and other Jordan apparel also continues to sell well.
Nike made about $26 billion last year, with $2 billion of it coming from Jordan’s brand, Forbes estimates. Nike has a 92 percent share of the shoe market.
Add it all together, and it makes sense that Jordan is making more money now than ever — although, as Forbes notes, that Hanes endorsement is part of it as well.
Photo via Twitter/@J_M_H23