We all know that most pro athletes go broke soon after retiring, no? Numerous studies have supported this claim, with retired NBA and NHL players being the most hard-hit by financial melt downs a few years into hanging up their boots.
According to a Sports Illustrated survey, 60% of former NBA stars are dead broke half a decade after ending their careers. How tragic.
Head Held High
Fortunately for Junior Bridgeman, he can hold his head high and proudly claim that he didn’t follow this path many of his colleagues did.
Drafted into the NBA in 1975 by the Lakers, the Los Angeles team traded the promising talent and three others to the Milwaukee Bucks for Walt Wesley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Compared to other NBA stars of his time, Bridgeman’s 12-year career can only be described as moderately successful.
Could it be because he was more into business than into basketball? During the off-seasons, the pro athlete took it upon himself to learn everything about Wendy’s.
After retirement, he invested heavily in the fast-food business, a move that was insanely successful.
Soon enough, Bridgeman was the proud owner of more than 100 Wendy’s restaurants, though he eventually sold some of them in 2016.
That’s not to say that his corporate career was drawing to a close. In fact, it was only gaining momentum.
The following year, Junior Bridgeman’s Bridgeman Foods Inc. became a Coca-Cola Company bottler, and who doesn’t know the benefits of getting into bed with this global beverage company?
Working with Coca-Cola saw Bridgeman and his company soar to greater heights, so much so that Bridgeman Foods intends to purchase the company’s Canadian bottling operations. Talk about spreading your reach!
$600 Million Net Worth
Currently, Celebrity Net Worth report that Bridgeman is worth at least $600 million, and the media outlet recognizes that the man has accumulated his net worth through sheer hard work.
You may want to argue that his NBA earnings must have boosted him, and indeed they did, but did you know that this athlete played in the era when player salaries weren’t as inflated as they currently are?
The highest amount he ever received was $350,000, a figure that is way less than the $40.2 million Stephen Curry is taking home. And if you didn’t already know, the Golden State Warriors man is the highest-earning player in the NBA currently.
Back to Bridgeman, what set him apart from the flock was the realization that he couldn’t cash in the NBA paycheck forever.
As such, he put as much effort into a side hustle as he did on the court. He chose to invest in Wendy’s, and if you’re wondering what influenced his decision, it was just because this was the fast-food joint that he loved.
Warren Buffett would have been proud, no? The world’s smartest investor is always insisting on investing in companies you are passionate about, and this is exactly what this retired athlete did.
Before he invested though, he had worked at the restaurant in a bid to learn its business model.
Fun fact – did you know that a customer once recognized him in Wendy’s uniform and proceeded to call into a sports show to reveal that a former basketball star was broke to the point of working in Wendy’s?
If he only knew how many such establishments Bridgeman owned!