Forbes list: Michael Jordan still sport’s highest paid retired star

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Few people are able to jump as high as Michael Jordan — and it seems that goes for earnings in retirement too.

The 53-year-old basketball legend remains on top of the Forbes highest paid retired athletes list after comfortably easing out former English soccer player David Beckham and golf star Arnold Palmer in the process.

Jordan earned $110 million in 2015 thanks to sales of Nike’s Jordan brand increasing by 14%, according to Forbes. He also maintains lucrative relationships with brands such as Hanes, Gatorade, Five Star Fragrances and Upper Deck and is worth an estimated $1.1 billion despite retiring 13 years ago.

Beckham was the second highest earning star of the past year, up a place from 2013. The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy player pulled in a cool $65 million thanks in part to partnerships with fashion brand Kent & Curwen and Chinese real estate firm Luneng.

Ex-England captain Beckham reportedly also retains hopes of acquiring an MLS soccer franchise in Miami in the years ahead.

Palmer took third spot with earnings of $40 million courtesy of his chain of golf equipment stores and drinks line. Former NBA star Junior Bridgeman ($32 million) an ex-American football player Jerry Richardson ($30 million) closed out the top five.

Bridgeman continues to rake in a handy sum from his long standing investment in restaurant franchises. Richardson has also had success in the restaurant business and is the owner of the Carolina Panthers NFL franchise to boot.

The richest former athlete on the list, with an estimated net-worth of $1.5 billion, is Roger Penske. But the former race car driver and owner of the Penske Automotive Group only ranked eighth in 2015 earnings ($20 million), according to Forbes.

Forbes earning estimates include salaries, endorsements, licensing, speaking appearances, golf course design, book deals and partner distributions throughout 2015.

Other notable names on the list of 14 athletes include golfers Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, Soccer superstar Pele and one-time Basketball wonders Shaquille O’Neal and Ervin “Magic” Johnson. Li Na of China was the only woman and former tennis star on the list.

Highest paid retired athletes and earnings in 2015

Michael Jordan ($110 million)

David Beckham ($65 million)

Arnold Palmer ($40 million)

Junior Bridgeman ($32 million)

Jerry Richardson ($30 million)

Jack Nicklaus ($26 million)

Shaquille O’Neal ($22 million)

Roger Penske ($20 million)

Gary Player ($19 million)

Ervin “Magic” Johnson ($18 million)

Michael Strahan ($17 million)

Greg Norman ($15 million)

Pele ($14 million)

Li Na ($14 million)

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