Nba player

The Richest NBA Player You’ve Never Heard Of

When you think of some of the richest players in NBA history, you naturally think of guys like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Shaquille O’Neal. Superstars who have earned millions with their on-court play and off-court image which have brought them countless endorsements and business opportunities. But there is one player who is among those names when it comes to net worth, despite being just a relatively unknown player for his career. His name is Junior Bridgeman and his net worth is estimated at around $600 million.

NBA career

Junior was drafted into the NBA in 1975 by the Los Angeles Lakers, to be traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, where he spent most of his 12 seasons in the league. With no individual or team distinction to show, Bridgeman left a solid career behind, averaging 13.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 2.4 apg. The 6’5” forward had his best season in 1980, averaging 17.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 2.9 apg for the Bucks.

Playing in the 70s and 80s, Bridgeman had the opportunity to play on some great Bucks teams that included the likes of Sidney Moncrief and Terry Cummings, but they never really made it through. Playing at that time, Bridgeman was making $350,000 a year in his prime, which seems ridiculously low compared to the money spent in the NBA today. So how did this unknown player manage not only to escape the fate of many NBA players of the time who went bankrupt but to become a multi-millionaire?

Career after play

While his peers relaxed in the offseason, Junior learned the business and embarked on a career after basketball. Bridgeman invested the money he earned from the NBA to buy Wendy’s restaurants, a very well-known brand in today’s world. It would be a springboard to start his own business named Bridgeman Foods, with ambitions to own and operate many Wendy’s restaurants nationwide.

Wendy’s is one of the most popular fast food franchises in the world today, but in the 70s and 80s it was still on the rise. Investing in the brand so early made Bridgeman a multi-millionaire. Early in his career in management, Bridgeman treated his employees as a team, using his basketball experience to bring his staff to work as a team. Learning off-season business and picking the brains of NBA owners in his youth was the most valuable education for Junior, who managed to financially secure his family for life.

Recently, Bridgeman has approximately 250 Wendy’s restaurants and 120 Chili’s. He is the second Wendy’s franchise owner in the United States with his net worth being around $600 million. It’s a great and inspiring example of how athletes don’t have to end their professional career when they leave sport. They can use the resources they have earned to earn even more money and become business tycoons. Great trick from Mr. Bridgeman! If you want to see how Bridgeman ranks among the richest players in the NBA, check out our article from a few years ago.