Pictures of Michael JordanMore than 50 million kids have been born in the U.S. since Michael Jordan won his sixth championship with the Chicago Bulls before retiring for a second time after the 1997-98 season. It has been eight years since Jordan took his last shot for the Washington Wizards and retired from the NBA for a third time.

Yet even out of the spotlight, the business of Michael Jordan has never been better. We estimate that Jordan earned $60 million over the past year mainly through his endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, 2K Sports and Five Star Fragrances. He also owns five restaurants and a car dealership in North Carolina. His annual earnings are greater than any other sports figure save Tiger Woods who topped the World’s highest paid athletes this year.

 

Gatorade, Hanes and Upper Deck have been long-time Jordan sponsors. 2K Sports signed up Jordan last year to be the cover athlete of NBA 2K11. It sold five million copies making it the No. 1 selling NBA videogame. Jordan is back on the cover of this year’s game and recently inked a multi-year deal with 2K Sports.

When it comes to Jordan’s annual earnings, Nike is his meal ticket and why his endorsement earnings are now higher than when he played. Jordan signed a five-year, $2.5 million pact with Nike in 1984 out of college. The Jordan Brand exploded and now has annual revenues of more than $1 billion with MJ getting a piece of the action. Athletes in the Jordan stable include Derek Jeter, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Denny Hamlin. The Jordan Brand’s market share of the U.S. basketball shoe market is 71% according to SportsOneSource.

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