AIR FORCE
MAXIM Australia|June 2020
With the brilliant Netflix doco Last Dance the flavour of the month, we take a look at how basketball star turned entrepreneur Michael Jordan became a billionaire...
TIM STRUBY
One evening last September, 250 guests packed Catch Steak, the slick New York City Meatpacking District hotspot. As the deejay spun, a bevy of A-listers including Spike Lee, Michael Strahan, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Les Twins ate, drank and grooved. But the supernova amidst the stars was the one-and-only Michael Jordan, five-time NBA MVP, six-time NBA champion, owner of 10 NBA scoring titles, and according to ESPN, among others, the greatest athlete of the 20th century.

The occasion on this night had nothing to do with sports, however. The bash was the official launch party for Cincoro Tequila, the all-new ultra-luxury tequila brand in which Jordan is a pivotal partner. Three years prior, he’d had dinner with some fellow NBA team owners: Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wes Edens, Lakers lead owner Jeanie Buss and Celtics lead owner Wyc Grousbeck, with his then-girlfriend (now wife) Emilia Fazzalari. The talk turned to tequila, said to be MJ’s favourite libation. “It was a great night,” Fazzalari, co-founder and CEO of Cinco Spirits Group and Cincoro Tequila, tells us. “We discovered we all had this shared passion for tequila and we saw an opportunity in the market.” By the night’s end, the seeds were planted for Michael Jordan to get into the tequila business.

There’s no shortage of celebrities who have played the tequila game. The spirit has attracted marquee names such as Sammy Hagar, Adam Levine, The Backstreet Boys, The Rock and most notably George Clooney and Rande Gerber, whose Casamigos brand was bought by spirits behemoth Diageo for a staggering US$1 billion in 2017. Yet it isn’t likely that Jordan is daunted by the competition.

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