Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest player ever to pick up a basketball. Jordan, and the Chicago Bulls, dominated the sport throughout the 1990’s. The Chicago Bulls won six consecutive NBA titles in the seasons Jordan played between 1990 and 1998 (he took two years out to play professional baseball). Furthermore, Jordan won finals MVP in each of his six appearances.
Jordan played his last NBA basketball game for the Washington Wizards on April 16, 2003. Yet, sixteen years later his name still sits atop of the NBA’s Richest Shoe Deals. Table 1 shows the highest ranked players by earnings from shoe sponsorships in 2019. Jordan made $130 million in 2019 from shoe endorsement deals. This is four times the value of second place Lebron James’ deal with Nike, valued at $32m.
Nike and the Jordan brand still dominate the NBA landscape for shoe deals, accounting for 76% of the sponsorship for top 14 ranked players. Adidas ranks second with 11% of the sponsorship deals followed by Under Armour (6%), and Chinese companies Ni-Ling (4%) and Anta (3%). The popularity of the NBA in the Chinese market has proved very lucrative for many NBA players. For example, newly recruited Brooklyn Net Kevin Durant (3rd) now sells more shoes in China than in North American market.