Michael Jordan’s Latest Contract Will Earn Him More Income Than His 4-Decade Partnership With Nike

By: Lauren Wurth | Last updated: Oct 25, 2023

In sports, not many names resonate like legend Michael Jordan does. He is known for his amazing gravity-defying feats and altering the course of basketball history.

While famous for his dominance on the court, he has also made a name for himself through his 40-year partnership with Nike. However, a new deal is set to make him more money than his entire relationship with Nike.

From Air Jordans to Billion-Dollar Hornets

Being a majority shareholder of the Charlotte Hornets team has been profitable for Jordan. He acquired the team in 2010 at a significant discount. Now, he’s set to sell it for a whopping $3 billion. 


Source: wallsticker.us/Pinterest

This figure exceeds the $1.8 billion he has made from his deal with Nike over 40 years. Jordan’s new deal will make him a profit of more than $2 billion. 


The Journey of the Charlotte Hornets: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Long ago, the team was originally known as the Charlotte Bobcats. The organization joined the NBA as a brand-new team in 2004 and was owned by Robert Johnson, the very first African American billionaire in US history.


Source: otaku_jersey_bball/Instagram

However, things didn’t seem to be going well for them, and they were losing lots of money. At some point, they tried to start their own sports TV channel, but it didn’t work out.

The Team Faces Setbacks

In 2006, in an attempt to save the team, Johnson had an idea. He decided to bring Jordan on board. This arrangement granted MJ total power to make all the important decisions about the players and the team in exchange for a modest minority stake.


Source: Getty Images

When Jordan joined the team, everyone had high hopes for a total transformation. However, the Bobcats continued to struggle in many ways. 

Hard Times And a Change in Ownership

Between 2005 and 2009, the team failed to qualify for playoffs and also wasn’t able to achieve any winning records. Additionally, the organization faced a decline in attendance which further raised concerns. 


Source: nbasketlovers/Instagram

Eventually, when financial setbacks and other personal issues became too overwhelming for Johnson, he decided to sell the Bobcats. Although the official list price was $275 million, Michael only paid $25 million.

Winning Off the Court

Even though the team didn’t particularly win a lot of games, and they certainly weren’t making any playoffs, Jordan was still making lots of money. The secret behind this seemingly unexplainable success off the court is linked to the growing value of NBA franchises. 

Source: Getty Images

In the end, MJ’s tenure of ownership turned out to be a very profitable investment as a result of the rapid increase in media rights.


The $3 Billion Deal

Selling the team for $3 billion is a turning point in Jordan’s ownership. Estimates show that the price surpassed the $1.5 billion valuation achieved after the sale of a 20 percent stake in 2020. 

Source: r/sportsdesign/Reddit

It also marked a 70% rise above Forbes’ $1.77 billion appraisal, conducted only nine months ago. Additionally, the price is well over what other NBA, MLS, and NFL teams are usually sold for.


Making Money Moves

Even if some people say Michael Jordan didn’t have much success with the Hornets, they can’t ignore the amazing business move he just made.

Source: Getty Images

This sale shows just how valuable sports teams can be. Someone willing to spend billions for this team shows that the sports franchise business is a huge deal. No doubt, Michael’s investment is paying off with his over $2 billion dollar profit.