You’ll Be Inspired After Reading Former NBA Player Junior Bridgeman’s Expectation-Defying Success Story
It’s a sad reality than a reported 60% of NBA players eventually go broke after about five years into their retirement from the sport, according to Sports Illustrated. And former pro-baller Junior Bridgeman is one of those who refused to be part of this statistic. This is the amazing story of how the Los Angeles Clippers player defied expectations to build his impressive fortune.
Compared to other legendary names in the sport, Bridgeman’s 12-year career on the hardcourt may not be that remarkable. In fact, he was even ‘traded away’ by the Los Angeles Lakers back in 1975 to make way for Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
However, all these don’t seem to matter many decades later as Bridgeman enjoys the fruits of his labor. Today, he’s reportedly one of the people who own the most number of Wendy’s franchises. Even more impressive is that the 66-year-old businessman is now worth an estimated $600 million.
Humble Beginnings & NBA Stint
His current success is surely a contrast from his beginnings as the child of a steel mill worker. Born ‘Ulysses Lee Bridgeman’, the ex-athlete has been playing basketball since his high school days at the East Chicago Washington High School.
His talents were further honed at the University of Louisville, where the 6’5” tall Bridgeman dribbled as a forward and guard. He was drafted into the big league after graduating from college and he began his slow but sure trajectory to success from there.
At the time of his career’s height, basketball players weren’t enjoying the same huge paychecks that modern players receive. In fact, the game’s most popular names like Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan got their wealth from lucrative endorsement deals.
In Bridgeman’s case, he received a peak salary of $350,000 throughout his years on the court. And he proved to be smart with the money he earned despite not being among the top-paid players. Knowing that his time with the NBA won’t last forever, he knew he needed a more steady source of income. That was when he made the decision to acquire a franchise of his favorite fast-food chain.
This decision, although made on a whim, proved to be a smart one in the long run. During the off-seasons, Bridgeman was busy learning the ropes of the food business. And by the end of his sports career, he’s managed to own three Wendy’s.
Managing Bridgeman Foods Inc., this handful of branches eventually multiplied thanks to his work ethic. His success is also well-rounded considering his decades-long marriage to wife Doris, resulting in three children who also work in the business.
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