By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, email@example.com
We all know that professional athletes make a lot of money — millionaire athletes are commonplace, right? But being a billionaire? That’s a whole ‘nother level. (A billion is a thousand millions!)
Which athletes in the world of sports have reached billionaire status? For the most part we can only guess based on past earnings, though in at least one case we can be very sure. Here’s a list of athletes that have reached at least a billion in net worth or are very close:
1. Michael Jordan – Perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, the vast majority of Jordan’s initial wealth actually came off the court from endorsements. What really pushed him over the top into billionaire status, though, is his majority ownership stake in the Charlotte Hornets. (He owns an estimated 90% of the team.) The Hornets are worth at least $1 billion, given recent sales of NBA teams, meaning that Jordan’s stake in the team might make him a billionaire even without any of his other money. Forbes estimates his net worth at $2.1 billion.
2. Tiger Woods – At one point, it seemed like a no-brainer to say that Tiger Woods was a billionaire, what with his many major golf tournament championships and his even more plentiful endorsements. But then he got divorced. And then he got hurt. So, some of those earnings are no longer in his pocket. Still, with a comeback of sorts over the last couple of years to add to his earlier pots of gold, he’s gotta be close, right? He’s the top lifetime earner on the PGA Tour, but that “only” accounts for a little over $100 million, so it’s really the many endorsement deals he’s had over his career that put him in the billionaire sphere. Woods has claimed he’s not a billionaire, but we think he’s just trying to look humble! Estimated net worth: $1 billion.