Chicago (USA), Feb 17 (EFE).- Michael Jordan turns 60 this Friday. Unrepeatable phenomenon on the floor with the Chicago Bulls, he built an empire valued at 2,100 million dollars. His ‘Air Jordan’ shoes are worn on the five continents. The ones he wore in his career are auctioned for more than a million dollars. Charlotte Hornets and Miami Marlins shine in their investment portfolio. This is the empire of ‘MJ23’.
Michael Jordan celebrates his 60th birthday, considered the greatest in the history of the NBA, of which he was a six-time champion with the Bulls in the 90s, and established as a businessman capable of turning everything his name takes into gold. name. His number 23 jersey sells for $325 in stores. The series ‘The Last Dance’ was a global phenomenon on Netflix and the story of his millionaire sponsorship with Nike will come to the cinema this year with ‘Air’, the new film by Ben Affleck.
His talent and charisma forever changed the history of the Bulls, a franchise valued at 4.1 billion. Chicago does not forget his exploits. From the statue at the United Center to his hidden jewels around the city, EFE visits the sites that marked the legendary ’90s of ‘MJ’ and the Bulls.
Almost 1.5 million for his shoes
The link between Nike and Jordan dates back to 1984, in ‘MJ’s’ rookie year in the NBA. The Oregon company offered him a sponsorship contract of $500,000 per year, an astronomical figure in those years, and took advantage of the player’s talent and charisma, on and off the track, to launch a line of shoes that would become a absolute icon.
The ‘Nike Air Ships’ worn by Jordan in 1984 went up for auction in 2021 for nearly $1.5 million. It was the following year that the first sneakers bearing his name, the ‘Air Jordan 1’, were released. The success was immediate and the Oregon company is currently producing the 37th edition of a piece that was worth a fortune for the brand and for ‘MJ’.
Already universally regarded as a style icon, more than $500,000 is now paid to get their hands on an ‘Air Jordan 1S’ worn by the Bulls legend.
Its brand and its unmistakable logo transcend the borders of basketball and have opened up new business horizons even in the world of soccer. Paris Saint Germain, champion of Ligue 1 in French soccer, skyrocketed its sales in the United States by dressing Kylian Mbappé in his ‘PSG x Jordan’ kit since 2018.
The Hornets, the Marlins, Netflix and the movies
Among Jordan’s many investments are the Charlotte Hornets, of which he has held 70% of the quotas since 2010 for a value estimated by ‘Forbes’ at about 940 million dollars.
In addition, in 2017 he joined a group of investors who acquired the Miami Marlins Major League Baseball (MLB) team for an estimated $1.2 billion.
The streaming platform Netflix launched in 2020 ‘The Last Dance’, a series that had a record impact during the coronavirus pandemic, on the six titles won between 1991 and 1998 in the Bulls.
Jordan received a payment of nearly $4 million for his contribution to the series, which he donated entirely to fund charitable initiatives.
His link with Nike and his line of shoes will also hit the big screen in the coming months with the movie ‘Air’, by Ben Affleck, whose ‘trailer’ was released last Sunday during the NFL Super Bowl won by Kansas City Chiefs against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jordan’s legacy, unforgettable in Chicago
Twenty-five years have passed since the last dance of Jordan and the Bulls, NBA champions for the sixth time in 1998, but in Chicago the number 23 is still present in every corner of the city.
‘MJ’ has his statue in the United Center, with his photos in the stadium’s trophy case and with his number 23 hanging next to Scottie Pippen’s 33 on the roof of the facility.
“In the 90s the atmosphere here was very different. The stadium was always completely full and people arrived knowing that the team had everything to go to the end,” a member of the United Center security team, whose name cannot be disclosed due to internal policies, told EFE. After 30 years of working in the stadium, he lived in person the moment of glory for the Bulls.
Remember Jordan’s leadership and how his charisma changed the history of the franchise: “In the 90s, the players were already men. Now, despite being the same age, they are much more ‘children’”.
On Michigan Avenue, in the heart of downtown Chicago, tourists flock to the ‘Michael Jordan Steakhouse,’ a franchise opened by the player in the 1990s, and many of the city’s historic restaurants proudly display photos and gifts from their client ‘MJ’.
Jordan’s signed Bulls number 23 jersey is on display as an heirloom at Portillo’s, the city’s most famous hot dog restaurant, and in the back rooms of a State Street sports store in the Loop ‘, the economic center of Chicago, keeps a floorboard of the Bulls signed by Jordan to which EFE had access, whose value is inestimable.
Initially on public display, it has now been kept in a private area of the store and is only brought out for very special events.
This Friday, 25 years after that last title, Chicago celebrates the birthday of the man who forever put the Bulls on Olympus in the NBA and who helped boost the business of a franchise valued at 4,100 million dollars.