“Junior” Bridgeman, Probably The Most Successful Former NBA Athlete You Don’t Know About

Ulysses Lee “Junior” Bridgeman is a retired basketball player drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975 from the University of Louisville. He played from 1975 through 1987 with Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers. Ulysses Lee Bridgeman was never a star by any stretch of the imagination but he played in the league long enough and well enough to have his #2 jersey retired by the Bucks franchise in 1988.

After retiring from the NBA,  Ulysses Lee Bridgeman has become one of the premiere franchisees in the country. At last count, as the owner and President of Bridgeman Foods, Manna, Inc., and ERJ Inc., his portfolio includes over 350 franchises. Bridgeman currently owns and operates more than 300 Wendy’s and Chili’s restaurant franchises in the United States. According to a Junior Bridgeman profile in Franchise Times back in 2010, his company and its holdings were listed at No. 3 on the Restaurant Finance Monitor’s Top 200 franchisee-owned companies, with $507 million in revenue in 2012!



During his playing days in Milwaukee he had already bought and operated 5 Wendy’s franchises, even to the point that he worked the line soon after his retirement. After getting his hands dirty and learning about the food business he turned himself into a mogul and started to turn his busineses into what it is today.

There isnt a ton of information out there on Mr. Bridgeman be cause he is a notoriously private person, but he is an excellent example of what athletes and entertainers can be once the music stops and they aren’t as high profile as they are when in the limelight. An educated man who took the entry exams for law school his senior year, just in case he wasn’t drafted into the NBA, who came from a great family, and has produced a great family is someone we can all look to as an example, even if we never played in the NBA or had a song on the radio.