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Michael Jordan officially a billionaire?

Michael-Jordan-Neighbors-AnnoyedMichael Jordan is finally a billionaire, according to an article that was published in Forbes on Thursday.

Jordan, who earns an estimated $90 million per year through endorsement deals, his clothing and shoe company, the Charlotte Hornets and other avenues, was estimated to have a net worth of around $750 million earlier this year. However, Mike Ozanian reports that a recent increase in his stake in the Hornets has pushed Jordan’s net worth into 10 figures.

In recent months, Jordan has supposedly increased his stake in the Bobcats from 80 percent to almost 90 percent. Sports bankers estimate that the Hornets are worth somewhere between $600 million and $625 million, using the recent $500 million sale of Milwaukee Bucks as a benchmark. Here’s how Ozanian came to his conclusion:

Our net worth figure for Jordan uses the $600 million figure. The Hornets have $135 million of debt, which makes Jordan’s equity in the team worth $416 million. After subtracting all the cash Jordan has invested in the team, we estimate his net worth outside of the Hornets to be $600 million, giving him a net worth of a $1 billion

It was only a matter of time, right? If a report from Golf Digest earlier this year is accurate, Tiger Woods recently became the first billionaire athlete.

Moral of the story? Be the best athlete to ever play your sport and cozy up with Nike.

LeBron James reportedly made $30 million on Beats by Dre sale

LeBron Dre headphones Red Sox

LeBron James is not just a great basketball player, he’s also a savvy businessman.

According to a report from ESPN, LeBron was set to make around $30 million after Beats Electronics was bought by Apple for $3 billion.

LeBron got a small stake in the company in 2008 when he agreed to promote the brand. You may recall that he shared a lot of promotional photos on social media and gave the headphones away as gifts in order to receive publicity for the brand. A lot of that work paid off; Beats became a popular company and was eventually acquired by Apple.

This nugget of information was revealed in the context of LeBron possibly taking less money on his next NBA contract. The thinking is that since LeBron is doing so well in business deals/investments/endorsements, he can afford to take less because he can make up the money elsewhere. Additionally, sacrificing now by taking less money in order to win more championships can enhance James’ legacy, which would make him more valuable as a person and brand in the future.

Don’t think he hasn’t considered all of that. He’s obviously proven that he is a very smart person.

Vince McMahon’s net worth, WWE stock plummet after new TV deal is announced

Vince McMahon power walkThe WWE made a major announcement on Thursday that appears to have cost the organization a ton of money, at least in the short term. The morning after WWE announced a new television deal with NBCUNiversal, WWE stock plummeted nearly 50%.

According to Forbes, investors are extremely disappointed with the new TV deal, which will allow Monday Night Raw to continue airing on USA Network while Friday Night Smackdown airs on NBC-owned Syfy Network. WWE chairman Vince McMahon insists the deal can only mean positive things for the company’s earnings, but Wall Street experts aren’t buying it.

“To all my little Hulkamaniacs, say your prayers, take your vitamins and you will never go wrong,” Benchmark analyst Mike Hickey wrote on Friday morning while downgrading WWE’s rating from a buy to a hold and cutting its target price by nearly $10 per share. “The company’s valuation could take a heavy beating this morning, as the new domestic TV deal with NBCU likely disappointed investors over limited visibility and believability on the ultimate success of the network.”

The plummet of WWE stock has been so rapid in the past 24 hours that Forbes estimates McMahon has lost somewhere in the neighborhood of $344 million. While that number is constantly changing, that type of loss would cost McMahon his billionaire status for the time being.

Another concern for McMahon’s company has been the launch of WWE Network, which Forbes says will have to pick up a total of around $1.3 million global subscribers in order to offset the loss of WWE pay-per-view revenue. Thus far, there have been roughly 670,000 subscribers.

While we’re hardly financial experts, we feel we can safely speculate that McMahon and his people are not going to starve to death. We expect the WWE to bounce back.

‘Just a kid from …’ Johnny Manziel using LeBron James’ image strategy

LeBron James Johnny Manziel

If you follow Johnny Manziel on social media, you may have noticed that he has begun to use a certain hashtag that looks familiar. On Tuesday, the former Heisman Trophy winner shared the same photo on Twitter and Instagram of himself in New York.

Take note of the text and hashtag he used:

“We’re a long way from Hill Country!” he wrote. He complemented it with the “just a kid from Kerrville” hashtag.

That may seem like just a few words of no consequence, but they’re actually part of a very carefully crafted sentence by those helping to develop Manziel’s image.

Instead of being the hot shot/superstar athlete in college who was known as “Johnny Football,” Manziel is making a clear effort to develop an image of an everyday man. This is the exact same strategy LeBron James began using recently, and it has helped completely re-brand/shape James and allowed him to do a 180 in terms of public likability.

You ever notice how LeBron says he’s “Just a kid from Akron?” He says it over social media all the time.

He even says it when he’s doing interviews.

It’s a way to help humanize him and make him seem like he’s just your friendly guy next door. It helps you forget that he is one of the most talented athletes of all time who can afford to pay someone six figures just to pour his mouthwash in the morning. And whether the “just a kid from Akron” image is genuine or not, you begin to believe it because he constantly says it.

And who is Manziel’s sports agent representing him for marketing? LeBron’s management team. It’s no coincidence that they’re using the same strategy and actively playing out the “Just a kid from Kerrville” angle. I mean think about this for a second here.

This is the guy we all knew as “Johnny Football.” This is the same kid who made his name by partying in a Scooby Doo costume on Halloween; the guy who dates supermodels; the guy who’s out at the club with Lauren Hanley; and the guy who was busted in an autograph scandal. And this is the guy who’s supposed to be just some kid from the country? If he keeps saying it, maybe we’ll fall for it.

Johnny Manziel Facebook

To let you know how much of a concerted image-branding effort from Manziel’s PR team this is, when Manziel unveiled his new Facebook page on Thursday, he did so with a post that said “Draft Day” and invoked the hashtag “Just a kid from Kerrville.”

Really, I have to hand it to LeBron’s management team. This is a truly brilliant strategy. But we’re on to them. They need to switch it up so it’s not so obvious.

Frankie Muniz wants to buy the Clippers

Frankie-MunizYou know how we know there will be no shortage of interest in the Los Angeles Clippers if Donald Sterling is forced to sell the team? Because Malcolm from “Malcolm in the Middle” is on a long list of people who have already expressed a desire to buy the Clippers.

On Tuesday, 28-year-old actor Frankie Muniz wrote on Twitter that he is going to buy the Clippers. He later elaborated in a lengthy Facebook post.

“I became a L.A. Clippers fan in 1994,” Muniz wrote. “How does a kid born in New Jersey, raised in North Carolina become a Clippers fan you may ask? Well, thank NBA Live ’95 on Super Nintendo for that. To be honest, they were the only team that I didn’t know who any of the players on the team were, so I didn’t mind deleting them and making myself, my mom, dad and my cats (Polly and Pete) the new starting lineup for the team on the game. From that day forward in 1994, I have been a die-hard Clippers fan.”

Muniz became a season ticket holder when “Malcolm in the Middle” was picked up and he moved from New Jersey to LA. He says he went to every Clippers home game from 2000-2008 and stuck with them even though they were LA’s other team. Like most others, he was “disgusted” by Sterling’s racist rant.

“I hope the fans come out and continue to support this team,” he wrote. “Help this team continue to win. Show that everyone, all races, genders, can come together and BEAT his racist remarks. I believe the longer the team can win, the more this will remain a conversation in which we can continue to learn from and teach to ALL generations that actions like his will not be acceptable.”

Could fantasy become reality? Muniz is believed to have a net worth of about $40 million. As Kevin Kaduk of Ball Don’t Lie reminded us, he famously told a Twitter heckler in 2010 that he had a $40 million retirement account at age 19. Muniz could probably afford to own a very small portion of the Clippers, but he’d be competing with NBA legends and boxing world champions. Don’t count on it.

CarMax will no longer sponsor Clippers, Donald Sterling

CarmMax

The Los Angeles Clippers have officially lost their first sponsor as a direct result of owner Donald Sterling’s alleged racist rant, as used car retailer CarMax has announced it will end it’s nine-year relationship with the team.

“CarMax finds the statements attributed to the Clippers’ owner completely unacceptable,” a representative for the company reportedly told TMZ on Monday. “These views directly conflict with CarMax’s culture of respect for all individuals. While we have been a proud Clippers sponsor for nine years and support the team, fans and community, these statements necessitate that CarMax end its sponsorship.”

Virgin America has decided to do the same:

There have also been rumors that State Farm will end its relationship with the Clippers, though Darren Rovell tweeted that the insurance juggernaut is still in the process of evaluating the situation. Other sponsors are surely doing the same.

We see this all the time in sports when an individual or organization makes a major mistake. In this case, Sterling is an individual who happens to own the organization. Therefore, supporting the Clippers is supporting Sterling and fattening his wallet. Expect sponsors to continue dropping like flies unless Sterling agrees to sell the team or is somehow forced to do so.

Magic Johnson reportedly interested in buying Clippers

Magic JohnsonThe pressure on Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers is only going to increase by the day. The NBA wants him out, and league commissioner Adam Silver is expected to make a decision on possible disciplinary action against Sterling by Tuesday. If the most stubborn owner in the NBA does decide to sell the team, Magic Johnson reportedly wants in.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Johnson is “absolutely interested” in purchasing the Clippers with the help of his billionaire backers the Guggenheim Partners. Sterling would never go down without a fight, but it is within the realm of possibility that Silver and the NBA could force him to turn over the team.

As Wojnarowski noted, Johnson and his people are looking to build a sports empire in Southern California. After cleansing the Los Angeles Dodgers of what had become a miserable ownership group in recent years, Johnson and Guggenheim inquired about purchasing the Los Angeles Lakers. The Buss family made it clear that the team is not for sale, but you get the point.

“This is 100 percent Magic’s plan,” a league source familiar with buying and selling franchises told Yahoo! Sports.

Sterling is always going to be viewed as a racist, and deservedly so. If you didn’t already know he was a bigot, the recent audio recordings that were released should remove all doubt. Unfortunately, Johnson was specifically targeted during Sterling’s rant. If there is a “best thing” Sterling can do in this situation, it would be to move aside and allow one of the people he disrespected to take over the franchise.