He Only Made $5M Playing in the NBA But Turned It Into a Business Bringing in Billions. The Inspiring Story of Vinnie Johnson


Vinnie Johnson


NBA players are notorious for their extravagant lifestyles, and many of them go bankrupt after retiring from the game. Nonetheless, a number of them have established successful careers outside of the court. Vinnie Johnson was nicknamed the “Microwave” during his playing days because of his tendency to heat up off the bench.

He was drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979 and was transferred to the Detroit Pistons two seasons later. He was the Pistons’ long-time sixth option and won two championships with them. Despite his on-court success, Johnson earned barely $5 million over his 13-year career. According to Basketball Network, many people are unaware that he was an active investor.

After retiring from the NBA, he launched Piston Automotive under the Piston Group, and he has expanded the company to become one of the major car parts suppliers in the United States. According to Basketball Network, the company supplies all three of Detroit’s major three as well as well-known companies such as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

General Motors has awarded the firm a contract to manufacture cooling modules, front struts, center consoles, rear suspensions, headliners, and brake corners for the automaker’s Canyon and Colorado pickups.

Piston Automotive, which has operations across the United States, earns approximately $3 billion every year and employs over 200 people, according to Basketball Network. According to the platform, the NBA icon has a net worth of $400 million as a result of the success of his company and subsidiaries.

Pistson Automotive is one of the world’s largest minority-owned firms, according to Celebrity Net Worth. It is present in the states of Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Missouri, and Kentucky.

Johnson announced a $10 million initiative in November 2022 to establish operations at a new factory in Wentzville, Missouri, which is estimated to create 204 employees.

“The new location will bolster Piston Automotive’s capacity for the assembly of modules for automotive interiors, exteriors, chassis, electrification, and powertrain,” a statement from the company said.


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