Seven-figure contracts sometimes fail to satisfy those competitive enough to thrive in professional sports. With so many endorsements, investments, and opportunities at their disposal, great athletes almost invariably go from wearing uniforms to wearing suits. But not all of them succeed. (Just ask Phillies great Lenny Dykstra about serving time for bankruptcy fraud.) The ones that prosper are intensely protective of their personal brands and willing to trade on their fame. They also tend to be the ones who don't mind taking a bit of coaching from research analysts and accountants.
Here are the legendary athletes who've equalled their sports success with success in the board room. It is an elite club within an elite club.
Michael Jordan is an unusual case when it comes to athletes turned businessmen because it hasn't all been ups for the dunkmaster. Jordan invested $275 million to become the majority shareholder of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010. The team, which has been relentlessly terribly over the last few seasons, is currently valued at $315 million, which makes Jordan's two-thirds stake worth around $210 million – just another loss for the Bobcats.
But Jordan is still Jordan. He was so successful on the court that money seems to stalk the guy. In February 2013, Forbes estimated Jordan's earnings from the previous year at $80 million. The 50-year-old basketball legend endorses products like Gatorade and Hanes, but the major cash cow is his longstanding partnership with Nike, manufacturer of his Air Jordan sneakers.
"Today, players receive the rewards before they prove their worth," Jordan wrote in his 2005 book, 'Driven From Within.' "What I did on the floor drove the marketing, not the other way around. The Jordan brand was driven by what I did every night playing the game. We had to earn what came to us."
Estimated Net Worth: $650 million
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