The Inside Story of how Michael Jordan became the World’s Richest Athlete

Michael Jordan was ratings gold for TV networks during his days dominating on the hardwood. He appeared in the four highest-rated NBA Finals of all time, with viewership peaking at 29 million per game in 1998. When he left the Chicago Bulls for good in his second retirement, Finals viewership plunged 45%. In the two decades that followed, the NBA hasn’t even come close, with the highest-rated Finals—the Golden State Warriors versus the Cleveland Cavaliers—pulling 20 million viewers in both 2016 and 2017.

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