Michael Jordan has had a $10 billion impact on the economy, Fortune magazine estimates.
From peddling sneakers, underwear and cologne, Jordan also has an influence on rising television ratings and gate receipts for basketball teams, increased sales of NBA paraphernalia and a lineup of sports videos and books.
The sports business is "a fundamentally different industry from the one he came into," the magazine quoted the National Basketball Association's chief marketer, Rick Welts, as saying. "How you figure out what he benefited from based on the industry's growth and what he contributed to the growth of the industry is a question for the ages."
The stats for Jordan, who begins the 1998 NBA Finals Wednesday for perhaps the last time, cover a wide range. He was the league's most valuable player five times and scoring champion 10 times.
Since 1990, when the Jordan-led Chicago Bulls took their first of five championships, television ratings, ticket sales, television rights fees, NBA retail sales and player salaries have all risen.
With help from outside economists, Fortune estimates the Jordan persona and product line has been worth $5.2 billion to sneaker and sports apparel manufacturer Nike Inc. Other companies whose products he endorses got an estimated $408 million lift.
The magazine also credits $3.1 billion in increased sales of NBA-licensed caps, shirts, jerseys and related objects since Jordan entered the league in 1984.
Then there's the hundreds of millions more in added NBA attendance and TV and cable revenue attributed to Jordan's drawing power, the magazine said in a cover story of its June 22 edition, which reaches newsstands Tuesday.
Jordan's sports videos, which have sold more than 4 million copies, have generated $80 million in sales. His movie "Space Jam," sharing the big screen with Bugs Bunny and other Warner Bros.' animated pals, brought in $230 million at the box office and $209 million in video sales, the report said.
Average NBA salaries have risen from the low six-figures in 1983-84, the season before Jordan's debut, to above $2.6 million this season.
Even Jordan's agent, David Falk, is cashing in. Falk's agency recently was sold for about $100 million, and Fortune estimated half of that represents the "Jordan Effect."
At the end of the day, Jordan is mystified by it all, Fortune said.
"I never really envisioned myself having any kind of major impact on people," Jordan told the magazine. "Even now, when I see kids wearing my shoes, it's kind of wild. Sometimes I still feel shocked."
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