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Despite Earning Just $350,000 as His Career Best Salary, Former Bucks Player Junior Bridgeman Built a $600 Million Empire

Anujit Vijayakumar

Despite Earning Just $350,000 as His Career Best Salary, Former Bucks Player Junior Bridgeman Built a $600 Million Empire

Former Milwaukee Bucks player Junior Bridgeman is an entrepreneur and a millionaire. Yet to the surprise of many, his wealth was accumulated from outside the realms of the NBA.

The NBA has provided a platform for numerous individuals to earn a fortune. While a great many have been incredibly apt at the sport and feathered their nest, there have been a couple of names who have obtained their wealth from activities outside the name.  It’s no surprise that Michael Jordan is the wealthiest NBA player. The six-time NBA champion’s luster on the court enabled him to brand himself as the star that he is.

With his distinction on the court as the blueprint, Jordan slowly but steadily built his brand, which is affiliated with the sporting industry. However, certain NBA players opted to procure their wealth the old-fashioned way through their IQ, which in turn led them down the business path.

One such individual is Junior Bridgeman. Flummoxed, are you? Never heard of the man? That’s because Bridgeman was a player unbeknownst to most, apart from those who were around the 1970s and 1980s. He has now certified himself as one of the richest former athletes in the world, despite earning mere peanuts from his NBA career, in comparison.

Rags to riches: The story of Junior Bridgeman

Although this isn’t your atypical rags-to-riches story, from the perspective of an NBA star, it most certainly is. Bridgeman presently possesses a net worth of over $600 million, making him one of the richest former athletes in the world.

He earned $350,000 per year, totaling over four million throughout his 12-year NBA career, Bridgeman has gone on to amass a vast amount of money. A few years ago, Bridgeman bought Jet and Ebony, a couple of media companies that were forced to declare bankruptcy in late 2020. Bridgeman admitted the purchase resonated with him on an emotional level.

Speaking on the acquisition, Bridgeman said:

“Ebony kind of stood for Black excellence, showing people doing positive things that could benefit everyone,” Bridgeman said. “It just made you feel good knowing that’s where they’re publishing all the stories in the magazine.”

The primary reason for his empire was his intelligence and curiosity regarding how to build himself a conglomerate. During the NBA offseasons, the now 69-year-old would work at Wendy’s, with the intention of comprehending their business model.

With the knowledge possessed as the blueprint, Bridgeman went on to invest his NBA earnings in the franchise and eventually diversified, owning over 250 franchises of Wendys and 120 of Chilli’s.

He then sold them in 2016 for a large sum. He later founded his own company, Bridgeman Foods Incorporated. As the President and CEO of Bridgeman Foods Inc, the former NBA player became a bottler for global beverage mogul, Coco Cola. In 2018, Bridgeman signed a letter of intent to buy the bottling plant of Coca-Cola in Canada.

Junior Bridgeman’s NBA career

Bridgeman was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers as the eighth overall pick. In less than three weeks, Bridgeman was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks. His tenure was the Bucks was greatly appreciated by the franchisee who retired his number two jersey.

With that being said, Bridgeman was a consistently reliable player during his NBA career. He averaged 13.6 points per game, 3.5 rebounds per game, and 2.4 assists per game in 849 games played.

About the author

Anujit Vijayakumar

Anujit Vijayakumar


Anujit Vijayakumar is an NBA and Combat Sports writer at The SportsRush. An avid sports enthusiast, Anujit has been involved in the NBA and Combat Sports spectrum for over five years. Having joined The SportsRush in 2022, Anujit has been an integral member of both the basketball and combat sports community. He has published over 200 articles for NBA and over 150 articles for MMA primarily since his tenure began as a content writer.

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