Former Detroit Pistons player Vinnie Johnson didn’t peak in the league. In fact, he octupled his earnings off the court.
Now, he boasts a net worth of an estimated $400 million.
Time in the league: Johnson entered the league in 1979 when he was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics. His time there was short-lived. After two seasons, he went on to play for the Detroit Pistons.
Here, he earned the nickname “the Microwave,” a head nod to his ability to score quickly off the bench, a skill that played a hand in earning two championship rings.
How much he earned: Throughout his 13-year career, he earned $5 million. This number may not be impressive if you compare it to today’s contracts.
Some players may make their highest earnings on the court, but that wasn’t the case for Johnson. He leveraged his influence and created meaningful change that went beyond dollar signs.
In 1996, Johnson took action, keeping the people of Detroit in mind, by prioritizing employment, economic stability, and opportunity through the launch of Piston Automotive. This was engineered under the umbrella of the Piston Group, created one year earlier.
Basketball Network reports Piston Automotive has also become one of the largest auto parts suppliers in the United States.
Great to meet with Piston Automotive & Detroit Thermal Systems yesterday to see firsthand their work producing EV batteries and HVAC systems. These workers are finding innovative ways to keep Michigan at the forefront of mobility & support our growing EV sector. pic.twitter.com/7f82iNHV1P
— Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) June 14, 2022
Piston Automotive supplies all the big three motor vehicle manufacturers in Detroit and other major car companies including:
More on Piston Group’s success: A testament to the company’s success is also seen in the $2.8 billion annual revenue generated. The success is thanks to Piston Group brands, which also include Irvin Products and Detroit Thermal Systems.
Vinnie Johnson, of @DetroitPistons Bad Boys fame, has become a successful automotive industrialist. His Piston Group is @crainsdetroit‘s fastest-growing company with revenue topping $2.8B, up 208% between 2015 and 2018
— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) July 29, 2019
What’s ahead: As for what’s next for Johnson’s company, they are working to launch a $10 million project that will support a new factory in Wentzville, MO.
Here, they will launch products for General Motors and improve the company’s bandwidth for the “assembly of modules for automotive interiors, exteriors, chassis, electrification, and powertrain,” according to a press release.
Factory Will Create 204 Jobs
What’s more, 204 jobs will be created, thanks to the new facility and support from the Missouri Works program.
“Piston Automotive is a welcome addition,” said Maggie Kost, the acting director of the Department of Economic Development, according to a press release. “This facility will provide valuable support for the manufacturing of Missouri-made vehicles.”