Michael Jordan remains the GOAT of the sneaker game

Rob Schaefer

On Wednesday, Forbes released an analysis of the NBA's top shoe deals, and the field is growing more and more crowded by the year. According to Forbes, 12 active NBA players earn more than $10 million from their sneaker pact (including Zion Williamson, who is slated to earn $13 million before playing his first NBA game). 

But the leader in the clubhouse, to no one's surprise and by a staggering margin, is Michael Jordan.

Everyone knows that Jordan runs the sneaker game and has for decades, even in spite of his post-retirement foibles as owner of the Charlotte Hornets. Still, the numbers are otherworldly. According to Forbes, Jordan's total yearly earnings amount to $145 million, with $130 million of that coming from "sneaker income." For reference, LeBron James pulls in $32 million per year from his shoe deal and $89 million overall when combined with other endorsements and his annual salary. Even without stepping onto the court this season, Jordan is expected to outpace even the highest paid NBA players in earnings by leaps and bounds.


It's quite a feat and a not-so-gentle reminder of the utter stranglehold Jordan, as well as Nike overall, has on the basketball sneaker market. Others can scrap for the dregs of market share they can find, but at the end of the day, MJ stays the GOAT on the court and in the boardroom. 

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Michael Jordan remains the GOAT of the sneaker game originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago