© Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Jordan turns 60-years-old today, a milestone he celebrated by processing a record-breaking $10M donation to Make-a-Wish America.

We’ll take a quick glance back at the career contracts of Jordan on the court, which, as you might imagine, pale in comparison to what he’s ascertained as a brand off of it.

The Rookie Deal

Jordan entered the NBA as the #3 overall selection back in 1984 (Hakeem Olajuwon, Sam Bowie for those asking). On September 12th, 1984 he signed a 7 year, $6.3M rookie contract with the Chicago Bulls, including a $250,000 signing bonus & a $455,000 base salary for his inaugural season. While reports on this deal are scarce, it doesn’t appear that Jordan was in line to make $1M in any of his first 7 seasons under these terms, leaving us to believe that the contract was heavily incentive-laden.

Jordan would stay on this deal through the 1987-88 season before extending, earning an estimated $2.76M for his efforts. 

The 1988 Extension

On September 20th, 1988 the Bulls did right by Jordan, voiding out the final three years of his rookie contract to get him on an 8 year, $25.7M deal. The new contract included a base salary of $2M for the 1988-89 season, more than double the $880,000 he was set to earn on his previous deal. He would go on to earn $14.1M over the next 5 seasons, before “retiring” on October 6th, 1993.

Jordan would stay away from basketball until March 18th, 1995, returning to finish out this second contract with the Bulls, who retained his rights throughout.

The Correction Contracts

In the 1996 offseason, Michael Jordan was an unrestricted free agent. So how did the Bulls respond to the possibility of losing their franchise star? By offering him a 1 year contract for $30.1M - despite the league salary cap being $24.3M that season.

How was this possible? Like now, teams could use rights to re-sign their own players past the salary cap threshold. The difference? There were no maximum contracts in the NBA. The Bulls could offer Jordan whatever they wanted, and in this essence - they did exactly that.

Next offseason, the two sides found themselves in a similar position, with Jordan on the open market, but with Chicago still holding his rights. The Bulls responded this time with a 1 year, $33.1M contract, a salary that would stand as the highest in the NBA until the 2017-18 season when both LeBron James, and Steph Curry surpassed it.

Jordan’s $33.1M salary for the 1997-98 season was more than the average NBA payroll that season. It would be his last salary as a member of the Bulls, as Jordan would once again retire on January 13th, 1999 - with the Bulls officially renouncing his rights (for the first time) on January 21st.

The Wizards Years

Michael Jordan was hired by the Washington Wizards as their President of Operations on January 19th, 2000, a job he would stay in until May of 2003. However, on September 28, 2001, Michael Jordan returned (again) to the court, signing a 2 year, $2.03M contract to join the Washington Wizards roster. The shocking move was (rightfully) muted by the chaotic 9/11 times, and he’s on record as stating that he would donate his entire $1M salary for the 2001-02 season to victims of terrorism.

Jordan battled knee injuries during the entirety of this final contract, stepping away from the game on November 28th, 2022, and officially retiring (again again) on April 3rd, 2002. 

Career Earnings

When it was all said and done, Michael Jordan reeled in approximately $94M on the court, $63.28M of which came in the 1996 & 1997 seasons alone.

He earned $91.8M from the Chicago Bulls, and another $2.03M from the Washington Wizards