Chalk this one up as another high for Michael Jordan.
His Airness, arguably the best basketball player of all time and the most successful athlete ever, has broken into the world’s billionaires club, 12 years after hanging up his jerseys.
Most of his cash comes from Nike payouts on his iconic brand which grossed an estimated US$2.25 billion in 2013, earning him US$90 million.
But his most valuable asset is his stake in the Charlotte Hornets, worth more than US$500 million, half of his net worth, according to Forbes.
Bill Gates is still the richest person on the planet, a title he has held for 16 of the past 21 years.
His fortune grew US$3.2 billion last year to US$79.2 billion, in spite of a gift of US$1.5 billion in Microsoft shares to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in November 2014.
Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico comes in again at No. 2 while revered American investor Warren Buffett took back the No. 3 spot from Spain’s Amancio Ortega.
Buffett was the year’s biggest gainer, up US$14.5 billion to US$72.7 billion on Berkshire Hathaway’s surging share price.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg moved up five spots to No. 16, his first time among the world’s 20 richest.
Steve Job’s widow, Laurene Powell, is No. 45 with US$19.5 billion which includes her holding in Apple Inc. and Disney, where she is the largest individual shareholder.
The youngest billionaire is Evan Spiegel, 24, co-founder of photo-messaging app Snapchat.
A record 290 newcomers joined the Forbes billionaires list in the last year as world markets defied international turmoil.
Nearly 25 percent of first-time billionaires are from China, which produced a world-leading 71 newcomers, ahead of the US (57), India (28) and Germany (23).
Alibaba”s Jack Ma debuted at No. 33 with a fortune of US$22.7 billion after last year’s blockbuster listing of his e-commerce flagship.
Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing is the richest Chinese at No. 17 (US$33.3 billion), followed by Lee Shau-kee (US$24.8 billion) and mainland China’s Wang Jianlin (US$24.2 billion).
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