Junior Bridgeman wasn’t a superstar athlete like Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan, but he beat them in business.
When Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman was drafted in 1975 by the Los Angeles Lakers, he was immediately traded to the Milwaukee Bucks as part of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar trade. Although he had a decent 12-year career, there was nothing spectacular about him.
Average of 13.6 points per game, Bridgeman was a solid player for the Bucks. He also fulfilled his destiny playing on the West Coast of Los Angeles, playing a few years with the Clippers.
Junior played at a time when if your name wasn’t Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, or Wilt Chamberlain, you weren’t getting paid in the millions. The modern basketball player makes millions even if he is a beginner, but a level 6 player could only earn 350,000 a year when Junior went to the Clippers.
He understood that this money was acceptable to live comfortably when he was active, but that he had nothing to live on after his retirement. As he was not a well-known player, branding mentions were non-existent. Junior did what no athlete would ever do because of his ego: work summers in a Wendy’s franchise. Along with that, he also got a law degree and basically prepared for a life after the spotlight.
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Junior Bridgeman was Shaq, before Shaq
Shaquille O’Neal’s business investment stories are something of a legend. There is no product he has put his finger on, and no one is more diversified in terms of investment than Shaq. From Google stocks to Donut franchises, the man has gone out of his way to make sure he never goes bankrupt. It may never be known if Brigdeman’s investment strategy and bustle is what Shaq also looked at to start his business career.
Even after making millions, we hear about athletes who go bankrupt almost immediately after they retire. Ben Simmons after 5 years of playing career is broke. Bridgeman decided he wouldn’t be like everyone else and literally went out of his way to support himself and his family every day. It was his work at the Wendy’s point of sale that led him to own a few franchises, which grew into a hundred points of sale.
In 2016, he decided to sell all of his franchise interests and cash in. Junior made an estimated $ 600 million, which he then reinvested in other businesses. He became Coca Cola’s official bottler, intending to buy in the process. We see a lot of top athletes now not relying solely on their NBA salaries. Smart business investment and spending cuts seem to be the trend right now.
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