Michael Jordan joins billionaires’ club; Floyd Mayweather richest athlete
Six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan has reached billionaire status, according to Forbes magazine, which estimated his equity as owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets at $416 million and his net worth outside of the team at $600 million.
Forbes also named undefeated boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather the highest-paid athlete in sports, bumping off 2013 winner Tiger Woods by amassing $105 million in net revenue.
Mayweather also topped the list with $85 million in 2012, ending 14-time major golf champion Woods’ run atop the 100-athlete list from 2001-2011.
Hard work pays off
“I’m humbled and extremely fortunate to be recognized by Forbes as the highest-paid athlete once again,” Mayweather said. “I’m doing something no other athlete is doing, promoting myself and seeing my hard work pay off in the form of record-breaking numbers.”
“It’s all about hard work and dedication, which is so important and a key part of my financial success,” he added.
The magazine measures endorsement income as well as prize money and salary payments from June 1 of one year to the next.
Also named in Forbes’ Top 100 highest-paid athletes list were Real Madrid World Cup star Cristiano Ronaldo, who leads 15 footballers in the list and ranked second overall with $80 million in earnings.
NBA superstar LeBron James, trying to win a third consecutive title with the Miami Heat in the ongoing NBA finals against the San Antonio Spurs, ranked third at $72.3 million. He is the NBA’s top endorsement money spinner and sales of his shoe line topped $300 million last year.
Argentine football star Lionel Messi ranked fourth at $64.7 million, bolstered by a new deal signed last month with Barcelona.
Injured NBA standout Kobe Bryant was fifth at $61.5 million, much of it from an NBA-best $30.5-million salary and $30 million from endorsements. Bryant signed a two-year extension last November worth $48 million but played only six games this past season due to a left knee injury.
Woods ranked sixth overall with earnings of $61.2 million, including $55 million from endorsements, appearances and his golf course design business, which is set to open the first Woods-designed course this fall in Mexico.
In all, 29 newcomers were on the list, paced by National Football League quarterback Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons at 10th overall with $41.8 million in earnings.
Only three women made the list, the same tennis trio as last year, with Russian star Maria Sharapova—coming off her fifth Grand Slam triumph at the French Open—the highest among them at 34th with $24.4 million.
China’s Li Na, who won the Australian Open in January for her second Grand Slam crown, was 41st at $23.6 million.
Serena Williams ranked 55th with $22 million in earnings split evenly between prize money and endorsements or appearance fees.
The list of 100 made a collective $2.75 billion in the past year, a five-percent hike over last year’s total. There were athletes from 27 nations across 10 sports, with the minimum needed to crack the list at $17.3 million compared to $16.4 million last year.
Athletes from 27 nations
Forbes reported that Jordan now owns 89.5 percent of the Hornets.
Jordan’s spokesperson, Estee Portnoy, confirmed that Jordan purchased an additional stake in the Hornets in January 2013 but wouldn’t say how much. The 51-year-old NBA champ became the majority owner of the Hornets (formerly the Bobcats) in 2010 when he bought out Bob Johnson’s share of the team.
Jordan earned fame and fortune on the basketball court as well as through endorsements and movies.
Mayweather joined Woods as the only ones to top $100 million on the Forbes list, thanks to victories over Canelo Alvarez last September and Marcos Maidana last month.
Woods, who also lost his world No. 1 status in golf last month to Australian Adam Scott, lost ground due to the end of a video game deal and a pinched nerve that required surgery March 31 and kept him out of the Masters and this week’s US Open.
Mayweather’s win over Alvarez set pay-per-view records with $200 million in total revenue, although his 2007 victory over Oscar de la Hoya remains the most watched fight in boxing history.
Mayweather, who has been paid nearly $400 million since turning pro in 1996, has three fights remaining in a six-bout deal with Showtime that he signed last year.
The deal includes $28 million in endorsement income from 11 sponsors as well as the five-year deal worth $200 million he signed with Real Madrid last September. AFP
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