Thanks to his Charlotte Hornets ownership, His Airness is a billionaire
Earlier this year, Michael Jordan joined one of the world's most exclusive clubs. No, not People Magazine's Best Dressed List (just visit this Tumblr blog to see evidence that MJ shouldn't be allowed to pick his own clothes).
Thanks to the skyrocketing value of NBA franchises over the last few years, MJ's 90 percent ownership stake in the Charlotte Hornets earned him a spot on Forbes Magazine's list of the world's billionaires back in 2015. That's right: MJ is a part of that illustrious honor roll-slash-rogues gallery that also includes the President, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, various members of the Walton family, Oprah, Elon Musk, and other achievers, inheritors, miscreants and scoundrels. With an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion, Jordan checks in at No. 1,001 on Forbes 2020 list of the world's billionaires, and to give you an idea of the worldwide wealth explosion, that ranks him as only the world's 17th-richest person named Michael, behind Bloomberg, Dell, and 14 others.
Still, $2.1 billion is nothing to sneeze at and could buy MJ an awful lot of ill-fitting acid-washed jeans.
Jordan first gained a stake in the Hornets franchise when they were the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006, becoming the second-largest stakeholder behind owner Bob Johnson. Four years later, he became the first former player to become a controlling owner when he bought the team outright. The Hornets have skyrocketed in value from $175 million at the time of the sale to $1.5 billion as of 2020. Jordan got an influx of cash in 2019, as well, when he sold a minority stake to Gabe Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim, although the terms of the deal were not made public.
To his credit, Jordan built a sizable fortune before he ever got into the NBA ownership game. According to Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes, Jordan earned $90 million in playing salary — amazingly, during his 15-year playing career, he was the highest-paid player in only two seasons — and added another $1.7 billion (pre-tax) from endorsements. His inflation-adjusted career earnings of $1.85 billion (and counting) make him the highest-paid athlete of all time.
That kind of scratch will cover a lot of losses on the golf course. Speaking of which — MJ built his own private course, set to open in 2019, where he can gamble away his fortune to his heart's content. Throw in his Carolina-blue private jet and his $12.8 million dream house, and it's clear that the billionaire lifestyle fits His Airness a little better than his pants do.
In addition to those lavish luxuries, Jordan has used his fortune to prop up the local community. He made million-dollar donations to fund health clinics in Charlotte and help hurricane relief efforts in North Carolina and the Bahamas. In the wake of George Floyd's death, Jordan announced in early June that he and his brand will also donate $100 million over the next decade to organizations "dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education."