Great NBA Players’ Financial Commitments & Investments

Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Great NBA Players’ Financial Commitments & Investments


As per a recent survey, it was determined that 60% of NBA players are financially broke within 5 years of them retiring from basketball. This would be for multiple reasons; bad investments, poor financial choices, reckless spending, hiring the wrong agents/financial advisors, being unwise and making irresponsible decisions with their money and many more.

While this is unfortunate, not everybody can say the same, as plenty of NBA players have made smart financial decisions and investments in order to allow their money to grow, rather than shrink. Here are five players that have amassed millions of dollars, for making shrewd moves on and off the court.


Vinnie Johnson

Vinnie Johnson was drafted in 1979, 7th overall by the Seattle Supersonics. After playing there for two seasons, he was traded to the “Bad Boy” Pistons, in 1981. He played an imminent role for the Pistons as a sixth man and aided them in winning the NBA championship in 1989, and 1990. After he retired from the NBA, Johnson, while residing in Detroit, founded the company “Piston Automotive”, while hiring and giving jobs to plenty of people in the Detroit area. The current net worth of the company is valued at $1.9 Billion. 


Shaquille O’Neal

Shaquille O’Neal is a four-time NBA Champion, threepeating with Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in the years 2000 to 2002, also winning one with the Miami Heat and Dwyane Wade in 2006. While Shaq was not always smart with his money, he learned to invest and become an entrepreneur, allowing him to grow his brand, and net worth. Although he does have the highest purchase in Walmart’s history, with roughly $70,000 worth of items, after he retired, he has made some clever choices regarding his income. Shaq has invested in Google, Vitamin Water and Muscle Milk, while owning several gyms. Furthermore, at one point, O’Neal owned 155 Five Guys Burger restaurants, which was approximately 10% of the entire franchise. He has been known to make calculated decisions, while doing a ton of research on what he uses his money on. Not only was he an unbelievable basketball player, he is also a very successful businessman.


Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson

Magic Johnson is deemed one of the best basketball players in league history and argued by many as the best point guard of all-time, while revolutionizing the guard position. He spent his entire 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning 5 NBA Championships, and 3 league Most Valuable Player awards. Thus, after his NBA career, he founded “Magic Johnson Enterprises”, which owns multiple successful national franchise portfolios, like Starbucks, Burger King, 24 Hour Fitness, Washington Mutual Home Loan Centers, AMC/Magic Johnson Movie Theatres and T.G.I. Friday’s. Magic’s company is known to serve over 32 million annual consumers in 19 states and 163 locations around the United States. In 2020, the business’ estimated net worth was around $600 Million. 


LeBron James

LeBron James is debated as one of the best basketball players of all time. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, he grew up relatively poor, with a single mother. His story is the American Dream, and his hard work and determination, has allowed him to become one of the richest basketball players in the world. LeBron has made around $343,863,770 in his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers, while having a current net worth of $500 Million at the age of 36. As he is currently in his 18th season in the league and has signed a lifetime $1 Billion agreement with Nike. LeBron has made some solid investments and financial decisions. Beats by Dre to Apple, sponsors James, and payed him $30 million this year from the sales of the headphones, as he owns a 1% stake in the company. He is the most endorsed player in the NBA (and rightfully so), as he has signed deals with McDonald’s, Coca Cola (he’ll soon be switching over to PepsiCo), Nike, Baskin Robbins, Dunkin’ Donuts and many others. On top of his Nike shoes sales, his brand, Beats, his salary, and other business ventures, LeBron brought in around $53 million in sponsorships this past year. In 2007, James became friends with known investor and speaker Warren Buffett, who vastly helped James’ investment and endorsement choices. Moreover, in 2011, he invested $6.5 Million for a 2% share in the English Premier League Club, Liverpool FC and saw that investment over quadruple in value with a $32 Million evaluation today. Hate him or love him, he is making the right plays on and off the court. Additionally, in December 2015, the film productions “Warner Brothers” devoted $15.8 million into LeBron James’ media company, UNINTERRUPTED.


Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, notably one of the most iconic athletes and figures in modern-day history, went a perfect 6 for 6 in the NBA Finals with the Chicago Bulls, while becoming one of the first athletes like Tiger Woods and Floyd Mayweather to become billionaires. When Jordan was a rookie in the league, he signed a show deal with Nike in 1984, while releasing the “Air Jordan Shoes”, which are still prevalent and worn in today’s day and age. His Air Jordan shoes, that were showcased in the 1980s, became the Jordan Brand, which allowed Nike and their team to create the branding of the Jordan signature basketball sneakers/shoes. In 2014, MJ made around $3 billion in revenue off of his shoe deals. Michael is also known to be endorsed by Nike, Gatorade, Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Upper Deck and 2K Sports, which makes him a projected $80 million per year. Additionally, Jordan owns a car dealership, six restaurants and a Motorsport team. Being from North Carolina area, in 2010 he purchased a 97% stake of the Charlotte Hornets’ team equity for 180 million. Today, Forbes values the Hornets at $1.3 Billion. His current net worth is around $2.2 Billion, making him the GOAT on the floor, and with the cheque books. 


Although there are many great players’ investments to chose from, there are a lot of them that leave you scratching your head and asking yourself what that player was thinking. While it is impressive to make so much money during a player’s NBA career, it is definitely easier to spend it all, than maintain and grow it into assets. These five players have showed that its possible to make additional profit once retiring from the NBA, and that it’s important to be mindful and make conscientious decisions on any financial decisions. Be smart and aware of all of your financial selections. As LeBron James said “Warren Buffett told me once and he said always follow your gut. When you have that gut feeling, you have to go with don’t go back on it.” 


A special shoutout goes out to Junior Bridgeman, who managed to make $600 million out of his $350,000 NBA salary back in the day. His story has been featured before.

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