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NBA fans can debate all day about whether or not Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. But when it comes to Jordan’s success during and after his career on the court, any debate about who’s the GOAT might be silenced now that he has become the first professional athlete to rank among America’s 400 wealthiest people, according to Forbes.

That’s right, Jordan is now a member of the Forbes 400 after a baller move he made last month, when he sold his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets, which was reportedly valued at $3 billion.

From Forbes:

Even if he had sold at Forbes’ most recent valuation, an estimated $1.7 billion in 2022, it would have been a coup for the 60-year-old Hall of Famer. Instead, the 27th most valuable franchise in the NBA traded hands for the second-highest sale price in league history and nearly 17 times its value when Jordan became principal owner in 2010.

That places him in rare air. With an estimated net worth of $3 billion, Jordan has arrived on The Forbes 400, marking the first time a professional athlete has ranked among America’s wealthiest individuals.

“Michael’s one of the few people that have had success three times,” says Ted Leonsis, the Washington Wizards, Mystics and Capitals owner, who has partnered with Jordan on multiple investments and sports ownership in the past. “A lot of entrepreneurs, they make it once. They have a big win, take their winnings, retire and [we] never hear from them again, or they try something a second time and it doesn’t work. He’s had three mega successes,” referring to Jordan’s impact as a player, an owner, as well as the growth of the Air Jordan brand at Nike.

Listen, as rich as a pro athlete can become, they don’t typically reach billionaire status. In fact, Forbes noted that besides Jordan, LeBron James and Tiger Woods are the only ones who have achieved that particular milestone. (We might have to talk a little about how the only three pro athletes who have become billionaires are Black and Black-adjacent, but that’s another post for another day.)

So how exactly did Jordan do it and do it like no other? Well, besides the Hornets sale and the fact that he made $94 million running up and down the b-ball court for 15 NBA seasons, Jordan happened to be a human goldmine when it comes to branding and merchandising. More from Forbes:

When the first Air Jordan sneaker was released during the tail end of his rookie season in 1985, Nike reportedly expected to sell $3 million worth of merchandise. Two months later, the brand had $70 million in sales and $100 million by the end of the year, according to a 2023 study from Temple University. Jordan had signed on for five years initially, earning $500,000 annually plus royalties. In its latest annual report, Nike reported $6.6 billion in annual wholesale revenue for the Jordan Brand, up 28.6% from the year prior.

Nike wasn’t the only company trying to capitalize on Jordan’s talent and charisma. “He was a brand before people discussed human beings being brands,” says Marc Ganis, president of the consulting firm Sportscorp. “It wasn’t Michael Jordan promoting Gatorade, it was Gatorade saying, ‘Drink Gatorade to be more like Michael.’”

Yeah, there’s a reason kids spent pretty much all of the ’90s singing, “I wanna be like Mike.”