Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest basketball player to lace up a pair of sneakers. Now the man who has five league MVP awards, six NBA championships, and the first NBA franchise majority-owned by an African American can add another title to his resume: billionaire.
Mr. Jordan made his first appearance on Forbes' list of the world's billionaires for 2015 by raking in revenue from Nike payouts and the Jordan brand, but his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets franchise put him over the top for the first time this year.
The 29th edition of the Forbes list is the largest to date. Jordan is one of 1,826 billionaires across 70 countries, who share a combined net worth of $7.05 trillion. That's a huge jump from the $6.4 trillion combined net worth of last year's list, according to Forbes. Microsoft Founder Bill Gates finished on top of the list for the 16th time in the last 21 years, and Jordan came in at number 1,741.
With the bottom falling out of the world oil market and a sluggish global economy overall, one might think 2014 would have been a down year for the world's wealthiest entrepreneurs and capitalists.
Not so. A record 290 people joined the list this year. The average net worth of this exclusive club is $3.86 billion, which is actually down $60 million from 2014.
Entrepreneurs dominated the list: 1,191 self-made individuals are in the billionaires' club, compared with the 635 who fully or partially inherited their wealth, according to the report.
And they're getting younger. A record 46 of this year's billionaires are under the age of 40, ,the youngest being 24-year-old Snapchat co-founder Evan Spiegel. Mr. Spiegel famously turned down both a $3 billion and $4 billion offer from Facebook and Google, respectively, to buy his mobile application.
Snapchat has over 100 million users, according to the Wall Street Journal. The app recently jumped into the news business with its Discover service, where various news outlets provide content for users. Back in mid-February, Snapchat reportedly sought a $19 billion valuation, according to Bloomberg.
At age 31, Elizabeth Holmes, who is the founder of the medical testing firm Theranos, is the youngest self-made woman on the list. Through her health technology company Theranos, Ms. Holmes developed a hand-held device that conducts over 200 medical tests at a fraction of the cost of traditional testing systems.
Forbes compiles its annual list through analyzing net worths; values of individuals’ assets, which include stakes in public and private companies; real estate; yachts; art; and cash, which they attempt to balance with estimated debt levels. Forbes tries to confirm their calculations with the members of the list, it says, but the degree of cooperation and disclosure varies from person to person. Forbes says it does not count foreign heads of state for this billionaire list who have amassed their wealth through their political power and embezzling national funds, because this does not reflect individual or entrepreneurial wealth.
As in past years, the Forbes list highlights the ever-increasing concentration of wealth by a handful of people. Oxfam estimated that the richest one percent in the world will own more wealth than the other 99 percent by as early as next year.