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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.

Isiah Thomas: Michael Jordan couldn’t have played through LeBron’s cramps

LeBron James cramps

Critics who have obviously never dealt with serious cramping will tell you that LeBron James showed a lack of heart on Thursday night when he left Game 1 of the NBA Finals with four minutes remaining. LeBron was suffering from severe cramps as a result of an AT&T Center air conditioning system malfunction, and Isiah Thomas believes there is absolutely nothing he could have done to play through it.

Thomas was in attendance for Game 1, and Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports noticed that he wasn’t even breaking a sweat in the 90-plus degree heat. Despite that, Thomas understood where LeBron was coming from.

“There is no athlete on the planet who could’ve played through those cramps,” he told Wojnarowski. “Michael Jordan absolutely couldn’t have played through those cramps. I absolutely couldn’t have played through those cramps. As an athlete, there’s nothing you could do.”

This is the same Isiah Thomas who, on a bum ankle, scored 25 points in a single quarter during Game 6 of the 1988 NBA Finals. The Detroit Pistons ultimately lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, but a severely hobbled Thomas singlehandedly kept his team in championship contention.

That’s why Thomas’ words are more than just meaningless blabber from someone who has never been there.

“There’s no way you could play that way,” he added. “People have to understand that – just no way.”

We have already heard comparisons between LeBron’s cramping and Michael Jordan’s legendary flu game. While those will undoubtedly continue, they aren’t fair to James. Jordan obviously felt awful, but LeBron was physically unable to move. He tried to reenter the game, but Erik Spoelstra told him “don’t even think about it.”

Fortunately for LeBron, his cramping came in Game 1. He has several more games to make people forget it ever happened, and we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if that’s just what he did.

LeBron James on Michael Jordan comparison: It’s so humbling

lebron-michael-jordan-phone

LeBron James has finally reached a place where he can rightfully be compared to Michael Jordan and many of the other NBA greats, and he is humbled by the comparison.

After the Indiana Pacers lost to the Miami Heat in the playoffs Saturday for the third season in a row, head coach Frank Vogel tried putting things in perspective by comparing LeBron to MJ.

“It’s bitterly disappointing to lose to this team three years in a row, but we’re competing against the Michael Jordan of our era, the Chicago Bulls of our era,” said Vogel vua USA Today.

The comparison isn’t at all off. The Bulls went to three straight finals twice during the ’90s, winning all six thanks to Jordan and company. Since LeBron went to Miami and teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, the Heat have reached the finals every season. This is their fourth straight trip and they are looking to win it all for a third straight year.

“Any time I hear my name or our team in the same breath with legends and great teams and franchises, it’s so humbling,” James said when told of Vogel’s comparison. “It’s like – I really don’t know.”

Wade is from Chicago and James has always been a big MJ fan.

“Me and (Heat star Dwyane Wade) grew up watching the great Chicago Bulls team and the great Michael Jordan and the rest of those guys,” James said Saturday.

“To be able to play the game that we love at a high level for one another, for our teammates, it’s the ultimate,” James said. “When you hear the comparisons, you respect it. You’re humbled by it.”

If James is able to lead his team to a third straight championship, he will be in even more elite company than he is already. Once he gets a third ring, everything else he does will be for show, for history, and to add onto his already impeccable resume. He really is the MJ of his time and the Heat are putting together a Bulls-like run. Still, I think the Spurs have the better team this year. It should be a great finals.

Michael Jordan uncharacteristically releases statement on Donald Sterling

Michael-Jordan-BobcatsAfter initially remaining quiet when asked about Donald Sterling’s alleged racist comments, Michael Jordan decided to release a statement addressing the issue on Sunday. The Hall of Famer and Charlotte Bobcats owner did not hold back.

“I look at this from two perspectives — as a current owner and as a former player,” Jordan wrote. “As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. I’m confident that Adam Silver will make a full investigation and take appropriate action quickly.

As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA — or anywhere else — for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.”

Plenty of high-profile athletes, former athletes and politicians (like president Barack Obama) have already spoken out about Sterling. The pressure is on for him to sell the Los Angeles Clippers and erase his connection to the NBA, but MJ’s comments are interesting because they were so out of character.

Jordan rarely ever comments on political controversy. He knows he has made much of his fortune through his brand. When Jordan refused to endorse Harvey Gantt as he was trying to become the first black man elected to the Senate since Reconstruction, he explained his stance by famously saying “Republicans buy shoes, too.” That should tell you all you need to know.

H/T Eye on Basketball

LeBron James stares down Michael Jordan as he dunks (Video)

Michael Jordan LeBronMichael Jordan respects LeBron James, but he’s slighted the four-time NBA MVP over the years. Perhaps that’s why LeBron decided to send MJ a message up-close and personal.

Jordan was in attendance for Game 3 of his Charlotte Bobcats’ playoff game with the Miami Heat on Saturday, and LeBron definitely took notice. James got a steal in the third quarter and looked straight over to where MJ was sitting as he cruised in for an easy dunk.

Oh yeah, LeBron definitely wanted to send MJ a message:

GIF: LeBron stares down MJ while dunking on Twitpic

Given how competitive Jordan is, deep down he probably liked what LeBron did. You could even see him give a little smile.

Related: Michael Jordan – I could beat LeBron James one-on-one, not sure about Kobe Bryant

Video via @cjzero

Kobe Bryant told Michael Jordan ‘I could kick your ass one-on-one’

Kobe Bryant Michael JordanPhil Jackson made an appearance on FOX Sports Live on Wednesday and discussed a lot of the stuff that basketball fans love hearing about. Like, for example, the time Kobe Bryant told Michael Jordan he could kick his ass in a game of one-on-one.

The former Los Angeles Lakers coach said Jordan had been retired for a year and came to a Lakers game. Jackson asked Jordan if he would meet in the chairman’s room after the game to chat with Kobe. Jackson said he wanted MJ to teach Kobe a little bit about patience. But as we know, nobody has to give Kobe a lesson in being confident.

“First thing Kobe says is, ‘I could kick your ass one-on-one,” Jackson recalled.

Kobe was 21 at the time and Jordan was 36. I suppose it’s possible that Kobe could beat a rusty MJ, but Jackson said he would take Jordan in a one-on-one game is both players were in their prime.

“It’s gotta be MJ,” he said. “When a guy can pick the ball up with one hand while he’s dribbling like Michael could do and take the ball to the basket, it’s very difficult.”

Ironically enough, Jordan actually said last year that he could beat LeBron James one-on-one but isn’t sure about Kobe. The reason? Kobe steals all his moves and models his game after MJ’s. It’s a fun debate that will never be settled but will always be discussed.

Kanye West at Chicago concert: We should have never let Michael Jordan play for the Wizards

Kanye WestIf nothing else, Kanye West is at least very aware of his surroundings.

Yeezy performed at the United Center in Chicago on Wednesday night, and during his show, he decided to rap about the most famous athlete to ever play inside the building. Kanye came up with a song he sung in autotune that seemed to be called, “We should have never let Michael Jordan play for the Wizards.”

There is some NSFW language — as you could imagine from Yeezy — but the song is pretty awesome.

“I believe I can fly and I wanted to be just like Mike,” Kanye says, which are lyrics most can agree with.

The only problem with Kanye’s song is that it might not exactly be rooted in facts. I mean who could tell Michael Jordan what he could or couldn’t do? The guy became a part owner of the Wizards and then decided to play for them. Nobody could tell 45 what he was or wasn’t going to do. Other than that, love the song, Yeezy.

H/T Ball Don’t Lie