Junior Bridgeman is Rich and Employs 11,000 People


One day, a customer recognized a professional basketball player in a Wendy’s fast-food uniform making French fries. “The customer was shocked and immediately called into a local sports talk radio show to say how sad it was to see a formerly great NBA player down on his luck, forced to work in fast food asking people ‘do you want fries with that?’”

There’s more to the story below.

People like President Obama believe that income redistribution is the solution to income inequality. What many liberals don’t realize or don’t want to admit is that entrepreneurs are better equipped at equalizing income than any government program or agency ever could. Freeing people to make money and keep more of it makes life better for everybody. Punishing the capital builders punishes people in need.

The people who get free money do not create jobs or build businesses. The exist at the mercy of the State using other people’s money.

I read an interesting story about Junior Bridgeman who “had a moderately successful 12-year career playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.” I had never heard of him.

The most Junior Bridgeman made playing professional basketball in a single year was $350,000. That seems like a lot of money, but the career of most professional athletes is not very long. Most retire in their 30s. What an athlete earns in his playing years must carry him through his retirement years.

“According to a study conducted by Sports Illustrated, a staggering 60% of NBA players are completely broke within five years of retiring.” No single basketball player is as rich as Michael Jordan. He’s the exception in a sea of also-rans when it comes to post-basketball wages. He’s worth $650 million, most of it from endorsements, $80 to $90 million a year.

“Unlike most athletes, Junior was quick to realize that his window of time in the NBA would be relatively short. At some point the paychecks would stop coming in and he would need to find a new source of steady income. So, on a whim, Junior decided to purchase a franchise of his favorite fast food restaurant: Wendy’s. While other NBA players hung out during the off season doing God knows what, Bridgeman was working in local Wendy’s—learning his burgeoning business from every angle and building a foundation for the rest of his and his family’s lives. By the time his playing days were over, Junior owned three Wendy’s.”

Today, Junior’s company Bridgeman Foods INC “operates more than 160 Wendy’s and more than 120 Chili’s franchises in America today.”

He’s worth around $400 million. Many people would say that he needs to lessen the effect of income inequality by giving away or donating his money. I don’t know what he does with his money, but I do know that his company employs 11,000 people! Now that’s lessening the effect of income inequality.

This doesn’t count the many people who supply his stores, the truck drivers who deliver the food, the warehouse personnel that handle inventory, and on and on and on.

“Junior is the second largest Wendy’s franchise owner in the world and frequently listed as one of the most admired business leaders in America. His personal net worth today tops $400 million.” That’s $380 million MORE than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s current net worth of $20 million,” one of the players he was traded for in 1975.1

If corporate taxes were lowered, every rich person in the country would spend more money, invest more money, and loan more money. The economy would boom and wages would increase.

  1. The Lakers acquired Abdul-Jabbar and Walt Wesley from the Milwaukee Bucks for center Elmore Smith, guard Brian Winters, and rookies Dave Meyers and Junior Bridgeman. []
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