What would you do if suddenly your employer started paying you millions of dollars every month and then leading brands approached you requesting you to wear or use their brands and in return they’d pay you millions of dollars? As crazy as the above sounds, this is exactly what happens to athletes who excel in their sports to the level of being considered the best in the world. This also happens to celebrities who are considered to be very influential. However, it’s very hard for other people in many other professions to enjoy the above benefits, which the rest of us would all do anything to enjoy.
If your answer to the above question was to buy new and expensive homes, a fleet of cars, and to change your wardrobe and lifestyle in the shortest time possible, you’re thinking like approximately 90% of the world’s population. The small percentage of people who understand the discipline it takes to handle such huge incomes would rather invest their incomes and change their lifestyles slowly, based on the money they make from their investments.
Michael Jordan is possibly the only former athlete we have today who is a billionaire, and any keen person will understand that he has made most of his money from investments, not really the salaries he used to earn. Therefore, Michael Jordan can easily own a private jet or even a number of the most luxurious jets on the planet, but still, have enough money to live large.
However, this is not the case with other athletes, even the ones who claim to be as good as or even better than Jordan was on the court. We have a few basketball players, former and current, who own private jets, but then there are those who cannot afford. Some cannot afford because they just don’t have the money, while others can’t afford to spend so much money on a plane that will not be of great use to their lives or businesses. Here are 20 rich NBA stars who can’t afford a private plane like Michael Jordan.
20. JUNIOR BRIDGEMAN
Like many professional basketball players of the earlier years, Junior Bridgeman began playing basketball in high school and college. He played mostly as a guard for his team at the University of Louisville. In 1975, the Los Angeles Lakers picked him 8th overall in the first round, although he was immediately traded to the Milwaukee Bucks and never got to play for the Lakers. Bridgeman played for the Bucks, the team he thrived and felt most at home, for most of the 12 years he has been in the NBA.
Bridgeman is the second richest former basketball player after Michael Jordan, although he shares this position with Magic Johnson since both have an estimated net worth of $600 million. After his retirement in 1987, he invested in restaurant franchises, and according to Forbes, he now owns an empire of over 450 franchises which include big names such as Wendy’s, Chili’s, Fazoli’s, Blaze Pizza, and even Fannie May Chocolate outlets. Bridgeman also signed a deal with Coca-Cola to be one of their independent bottlers, a contract in which he is earning a tidy sum.
Tales of basketball players going broke after retiring saddens him. He chose to make smart investments, grow his income, and have a better life for himself and his family than he did growing up. Although he is one of the richest people to have ever played basketball, it appears as though he doesn’t own a jet.
19. HAKEEM OLAJUWON
Hakeem Olajuwon, a Nigerian American, is currently estimated to be worth $200 million. In 1984, when he finished college, Hakeem was drafted by the Houston Rockets. He led his team to several championships and became the only player in NBA’s history to win the Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Year, and Finals MVP awards all in one season. He also played for the US men’s national basketball team that won a gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games. He retired in 2002.
Olajuwon agreed to endorse a cheap sneaker line called The Dream, citing that children from poor homes who could not afford Reebok, Nike, or Adidas sneakers. Such big brands were normally endorsed by popular players, and according to him, children from poor families would resort to stealing or even killing just to get such shoes.
After retiring in 2002, Olajuwon developed an interest in real estate. However, he only made cash-only purchases as his Muslim faith does not believe in payments where interest is involved. Olajuwon has made over $100 million in profits from his real estate investments so far, and it seems he will continue growing his wealth.
He is now living in Jordan, with his family and studies Islam there, since his religion appears to be his main interest. It’s highly unlikely that a man with such strong convictions would splurge millions on a personal aircraft, or probably he’s saving up to buy a jet that will make all others look cheap.