Junior Bridgeman, B-Ball & Entrepreneurship


Family, as I have said many times over, safeguard and treasure over yourself.

Junior Bridgeman is one of those who does that well.



Junior Bridgeman

Dr. J & Junior Bridgeman


Celebrity Networth



Junior Bridgeman is an American retired professional basketball player and highly successful fast-food entrepreneur who has a net worth of $600 million. As an NBA player, Junior Bridgeman had a moderately successful 12-year career playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers. His highest single-season salary was $350,000. He took the money he made and invested all of it into fast-food franchises, specifically Wendy’s food chains. Today he is one of the richest athletes in history and a model for finding success after leaving professional sports.


Personal Life

He has been married to his wife Doris for more than 35 years. The couple has three adult children who all have MBAs and work in the family business.

Early Life

Junior Bridgeman was born Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman in 1953 in East Chicago, Indiana. His father was a blue-collar steel mill worker. From a very early age, Junior showed an incredible knack for basketball. He led his high school basketball team to a state championship in 1971. At 6’5″, Bridgeman played guard and forward during college at the University of Louisville, where he was also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, Junior Bridgeman was drafted with the 8th overall pick in the first round of the 1975 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers and was then immediately traded to the Milwaukee Bucks for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.



Bridgeman had a very successful NBA career, scoring 11,517 career points. In his 12-year NBA career (10 with Milwaukee, two with the Clippers), Bridgeman was mostly a sixth man. For nine consecutive seasons, he averaged double figures in scoring. He holds the Milwaukee franchise record for the number of games played at 711, though he only started in 105 of those games. Bridgeman was a good basketball player, solid and steady. Junior realized 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.

Salary Highlights

His professional basketball career lasted from 1975 to 1987, in the era just before players were paid crazy amounts of money. Bridgeman’s peak NBA salary was $350,000 from the Clippers in 1985.

Career Honors

Bridgeman’s number 2 jersey was retired by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1988.


Fast Food Business:- Wendy


While other NBA players hung out during the offseason, Bridgeman was working in a 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. Over the next few years, Junior slowly expanded Bridgeman Foods Inc. Three locations grew to six. Six grew to 10. Ten grew to 20, and so on. Business boomed thanks largely to Junior’s highly dedicated work ethic. Instead of sitting back and collecting checks from a beach, Junior was frequently seen behind the counters working at his own restaurants.

One day, a customer recognized Junior in his Wendy’s uniform making french fries. The customer was shocked and immediately called into 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?”


Growing The Business

By 2016, Bridgeman Foods Inc operated more than 160 Wendy’s and more than 120 Chili’s franchises. Bridgeman employs over 11,000 people and has annual revenues in excess of $530 million. Junior was the second-largest Wendy’s franchise owner in the world and frequently listed as one of the most admired business leaders in America. He became a franchisee of Fazoli’s and Blaze Pizza as well.


Selling The Business

In 2016, he sold his fast-food empire. The parent company of Chili’s bought back 116 of Bridgeman’s franchises. Bridgeman’s Chili’s locations generated about $300 million in annual revenue.

Coca-Cola Company

Buying into Coca-Cola Bottling Operations

In 2017, Bridgeman became a bottler for The Coca-Cola Company, and in 2018, he signed a letter of intent to buy bottling operations in Canada. Junior is now the president and CEO of Coca-Cola Heartland. He runs the company, its production plant in Lenexa, Kansas, and its 18 regional distribution centers with his son, Justin. Heartland’s operations span most of Kansas, a significant portion of Missouri, a little over half of Illinois, and a small part of Nebraska.


Bridgeman is the current owner of Ebony and Jet magazines.


Community Investment

Among the charitable organizations, Heartland supports are Crittenton Children’s Center at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City and the Crisis Nursery and St. Patrick Center in St. Louis.

Bridgeman has personally supported the founding of several basketball camps and a Louisville boys’ school for homeless children.


Business Relationship

He sits on the board of the PGA.





  1. Exponential Conversation with Junior Bridgeman
    • Exponential Conversation with Junior Bridgeman
      • Videos
        • Exponential Conversation with Junior Bridgeman
          Channel:- Sheri Riley
          Date Published:- 2017-January-11th
          Date Added:- 2021-December-9th



  1. University of Kentucky
    • KTW Shorts: Junior Bridgeman
      • Profile
        • Junior Bridgeman, restaurant magnate, and former NBA star reflect on his life and the Kentucky influence.
        • Listen as Bridgeman shares moments from his life and how Kentucky showed up throughout his career.
      • Videos
        • KTW Shorts: Junior Bridgeman
          Channel:- Kentucky To The World
          Date Published:- 2017-May-1st
          Date Added:- 2021-December-9th
  2. Milwaukee Bucks
    • ‘So much admiration for the guys’: Junior Bridgeman reflects on time with the Milwaukee Bucks
      • Profile
        • The Milwaukee Bucks of the 80s were consistently good. But it always seemed like Boston or Philly stood in their way, in the East.
        • One of the members of those teams, Junior Bridgeman, says he still feels a kinship with this team.
      • Videos
        • ‘So much admiration for the guys’: Junior Bridgeman reflects on time with the Milwaukee Bucks
          Channel:- TMJ4 News
          Date Published:- 2021-July-15th
          Date Added:- 2021-December-9th


  1. Founders Series | Junior Bridgeman
    • Founders Series | Junior Bridgeman
      • Videos
        • Founders Series | Junior Bridgeman
          Channel:- Awesome Inc.
          Date Published:- 2015-October-20th
          Date Added:- 2021-December-9th


Video Transcripts



Exponential Conversation with Junior Bridgeman

  1. Principle 9
    • 9th Principle of Exponential Living
    • Empowers you to stop spending 100% of yourself, on 10% of who you are
  2. Principle 8
    • Encourages you to be faithful
  3. It is all about our healing
  4. The biggest mistake most people make is not having enough faith
  5. Attributes
    • (+)
      • Faith
        • Faith leads to Confidence
    • (-)
      • Without faith, you will not do all you could have done
  6. Personhood
    • In Milwaukee, there is an individual
    • He fathers one of the people that works with us
    • On his 90th birthday, they asked him what will you do differently
    • The one thing I would have done differently is to have taken more risks


Parting Shot

Letting KD have the last word:-

Just tune me out, Bro. Why does it matter what I do???
Kevin Durant

Referenced Work

  1. Celebrity Net Worth
    • Richest Athletes › NBA Players
      • Junior Bridgeman Net Worth
  2. The Sports Rush
    • “Just tune me out bro, why does it even matter what I do?”: Kevin Durant silences a fan who tries to tell him how he should appear on social media

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