Michael Jordan has been retired for more than a decade, but no basketball player made more money than the GOAT last year. Air Jordan sold $2.25 billion worth of signature kicks in 2013, according to SportsOneSource, netting Jordan himself close to $100 million. To give some perspective, LeBron James signature Nike shoes sold about $300 million–and King James’ current deal with Nike gives him nowhere near the equity stake that Jordan has. (Though watch out for LeBron’s renegotiation after Kevin Durant’s deal!)
Jordan hasn’t made this much money since his last year with Bulls, when his basketball salary alone topped $30 million. The market for re-released retro Air Jordans just keeps growing. And as a figure in the culture Jordan’s status rises above everyone else just like he once did: ESPN The Magazine‘s music issue cited Jordan as the most referenced hoopster in hip-hop. Jordan was mentioned in 50 new songs last year–Kobe and LeBron together didn’t total that. And none of Jordan’s fabulous wealth considers a factor that’s hard to calculate yet but is absolute nonetheless: when Steve Ballmer paid $2 billion for the LA Lakers this summer every franchise in the NBA got a presumptive boost in value. Jordan is part-owner of the Charlotte Hornets.