Looking at this man you would think he is the manager of the fast food restaurant in the background. So I thought at first when I was asked about the wealthiest athletes of all time, the names that I could think of were Michael Jordan, Tiger Wood, Floyd Mayweather, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James.
Never would I have thought of Junior Bridgeman.
Who is he? The answer to that question is anyone’s guess. Even during his playing days as a basketballer for the Milwaukee Bucks he was one of those players that did his part for the team, the type that was on the court but ‘not really on it’.
An average player, his most earning peaked at $350,000 in a single year in the late 70s, his trading partner Kareem Abdul Jabbar was on $3 million annually ($5.8m today).
When he retired from basketball in 1987, his retirement went almost unnoticed in comparison to Kobe and Jordan’s.
Today, Junior Bridgeman is worth more than $600 million and he is the sixth wealthiest sportsman of all time next to Michael Jordan, Michael Schumacher, Vince McMahon Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer.
So how did he do it?
Wendy’s. Yes, Wendy’s the fast food eatery and for those who haven’t been to the United States, it is just as popular as McDonald’s.
While his teammates were driving luxury fast cars and chilling, popping bottles in the summer, he was working in the kitchen and learning about business by hanging out with every establishment owners he could find.
He bought a Wendy’s burger restaurant and by the time he retired he owned three.
He opened his Bridgeman foods on retirement and today his company own and manage 285 Wendy’s and Chili restaurants with an annual revenue of $590 million.
Someone once told me that there is no such thing as ‘a mistake’ in achieving success, your either win or you learn.
If you fail to plan you are planning to fail. Those who win, plan and those who fail, learn.
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