Michael Jordan’s Nike Earnings In 2022 More Than Doubled His Career NBA Money

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We’ve all seen the massive contracts that some athletes are making these days. From Mike Trout making $426.5 million, to Aaron Judge at $365 to even players like Patrick Mahomes annual $45 million or Aaron Rodgers at $50 million… but the real money may be in what the athletes do off the playing surface.

And the one that can prove it all is Sir Airness himself, Michael Jordan.

That’s because Jordan made nearly double his entire career earnings just last year alone thanks to a massive Nike deal.

Re-read that last sentence. Jordan hasn’t touched a basketball on a professional court since 2003 (God we are old) and he just racked in perhaps his biggest annual gross earnings yet. Have yourself a cigar, MJ.

Michael Jordan made big money last year thanks to his Nike licensing deal. (Photo by Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)


According to Front Office Sports, Nike’s Jordan Brand made $5.1 billion last year. And, because of MJ’s brilliantly negotiated deal he made years ago that he gets 5% of annual earnings, that means he made $256.1 million last year alone.

He made all that money last year without having to go through training camp, or hours long practices, or high-stressed NBA games. Nope. He did it all just by licensing his name.

By comparison, Jordan made approximately $90 million dollars TOTAL throughout his 15-year career.

When Jordan was a rookie in 1984, he signed a deal with Nike. The agreement, which is one of the most profitable athletic branding ones in history, has allowed Michael to live quite the good life since hanging his playing sneakers up.

His net worth is believed to be $1.7 billion, according to Forbes.


Sure, it’s difficult to make direct comparisons between what athlete’s were making back in the day compared to now. Massive television rights contracts and merchandise apparel now being a global commodity has allowed athletes and teams to get bigger contracts.

But if this shows anything, it’s the power of what the individual athlete can do outside of the minutes they play on the court or innings they collect on the baseball diamond.

With the rise of NIL deals, including for college athletes, let Michael Jordan pave the way for what a future may look like. Although it most likely won’t be anywhere near that kind of Nike-type money, athletes now have the opportunity to sell their Name, Image and Likeness in ways they never have before.

So that when the playing days are over, and they will eventually be over – the athlete, can still live that good life. Just as Jordan does.

Just make sure you don’t partner with FTX.

Written by Mike Gunzelman

Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.

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