How former Pistons star Vinnie Johnson turned his $5m NBA earnings into a staggering $400m fortune

VINNIE JOHNSON might not have been a standout NBA superstar – but he’s transformed his $5m career earnings into a fortune to rival Shaquille O’Neal.

The two-time NBA champion, 66, was known as “The Microwave” for his ability to score quick points off the bench.

Vinnie Johnson won two NBA titles with the Detroit Pistons


Vinnie Johnson won two NBA titles with the Detroit PistonsCredit: Getty
The guard was known as 'The Microwave' for heating the offense up off the bench


The guard was known as ‘The Microwave’ for heating the offense up off the benchCredit: Getty
After retiring, Vinnie turned his $5m career earnings into a fortune


After retiring, Vinnie turned his $5m career earnings into a fortuneCredit: Getty

Johnson was one of the most prolific scorers in Baylor history before being selected seventh overall by the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1979 NBA Draft.

After two seasons in Seattle, the talented guard was traded to the Pistons in 1981 where he would spend the next decade.

Johnson’s skill-set was perfectly suited to playing against tiring defenses from the bench.

He would regularly come into the game and help the Pistons out of a spot, “heating up” from the field.

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Johnson carved out stellar career as Detroit’s sixth man, including making a championship-winning 14-footer with 0.7 seconds left to beat the Portland Trail Blazers in 1990.

He was a fan-favorite as he helped Detroit win back-to-back titles, with his late buzzer jumper earning him the moniker “007.”

The New York native scored 11,825 points over his thirteen-year NBA career, averaging 12 per game.

But it was in the business world where Johnson would truly excel after hanging up his jersey in 1992.

Despite his loyalty to the Pistons and near-perfect injury record, Johnson’s NBA earnings only totaled around $5m.

Just three years after retiring, Johnson moved into gear by starting his own automobile supply company named the Piston Group.

It didn’t take long for his venture to take off, with Johnson’s start-up soon supplying car parts to GM and Ford Motor Company.

Throughout the ’90s, he spread the business out of Detroit and across the midwest, including opening stores in Ohio, Missouri, and Kentucky.

Still trading today, Vinnie now serves as Piston Group’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

According to CelebrityNetWorth, the company turns over $3billion annually.

And Vinnie himself has an incredible net worth of $400million.

To put that figure into context, it’s the same as NBA legend and icon Shaq who has also branched into business following his retirement.

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Johnson does have some way to go though if he wants to reach the heights of both Michael Jordan and LeBron James.

Two of the most influential basketball stars of all time, the pair are both estimated by Forbes to be worth over $1billion.

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