MICHAEL Jordan continues to be one of the biggest draws in sport a dozen years after retiring, so much that his earnings from last year topped his total salary in 15 years as a player.
His income from Nike and other partners gave Jordan around US$100 million in 2014, according to Forbes magazine, higher than his $94 million total salary as a player.
However, it is not a perfect comparison since the numbers aren’t adjusted against inflation. For example, what cost $33 million in 1997, Jordan’s pay that year, would have cost about $48.3 million last year.
Jordan also tops the Forbes list of highest-paid retired athletes of 2015 and would rank a strong third if active athletes are included, with unbeaten Floyd Mayweather first at $300 million and Manny Pacquiao next with $160 million.
Both fighters zoomed to the top of chart after the so-called ‘Fight of the Century’ in May that broke pay-per-view records.
Jordan isn’t the only retired athlete earning much more than active players.
David Beckham, who hang up his boots in 2013, earned $75 million in his first full year of retirement.
That is close to top active footballer Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, who earned over $79 million, and higher than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who got $73.8 million.
Forbes says the earnings estimates include salaries, endorsements, licensing, speaking and appearances, golf course design, book deals and production contracts in 2014. They do not include investment income.