An expert sports economist says Jordan's endorsement income is still greater than any current NBA player, including King James.
Smith College economist Andrew Zimbalist testified Monday in a Chicago federal court as an expert witness for the six-time NBA champion's lawsuit, which seeks damages from a grocery store chain that used his image without permission, according to ESPN.
Zimbalist says the market value of Jordan's image in advertising is at least $10 million.
In addition, Zimbalist said that for a former athlete to enjoy an increasing endorsement income is atypical, but then again, we are talking about Michael Jordan here. Zimbalist added that Jordan raked in $75.5 million in endorsements in 2012.
Jordan's business manager Curtis Polk also testified Monday that MJ's image is guarded, so young people will always know him for his achievements. His Airness is especially particular about the deals he signs up for. He only attaches his name to long-term deals, nothing short-term or one-off like the situation in question with the grocery company. Jordan's longtime agent referred to the stratergy as the "Hope Diamond" approach.
"The Hope Diamond is the most valuable diamond in the world because it's rare," Falk said last week in court. "You can't cut it up into pieces. Certain things are indivisible and keeping them indivisible protects their value."
Jordan himself could wind up testifying in attempt to explain why he protects his image so much.
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