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What is Michael Jordan Inc. worth?

Michael Jordan's endorsement deals are finally starting to get true, real numbers attached to them. All because of a 6-year-old coupon to save two bucks on a piece of steak at a grocery store that doesn't even exist anymore.

The numbers, already more than half a billion dollars in the past decade, are a sensitive enough matter that major Jordan sponsors Nike, Gatorade, Upper Deck and 2K Sports requested that a judge restrict access to the courtroom exactly so this type of article couldn't be written.

Jordan is in a lawsuit against Dominick's Finer Foods, a Chicago-area grocery store that doesn't even operate anymore.

In 2009, Sports Illustrated magazine ran a special edition in Chicago (and North Carolina) congratulating Jordan when he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. About 30 percent of the 140,000-some copies were sold.

Dominick's, a now-shuttered subsidiary of Safeway, placed this ad in that special edition of SI:

Apparently, Jordan didn't like the connection that he was a "cut above"—just like that discounted piece of meat.

Dominick's did not get Jordan's prior approval for using his name or number in the ad, and a previous judge already ruled that it was a misuse of Jordan's identity. The only thing left to fight now is how much money Jordan is going to get out of it. It's a battle of experts claiming different valuations of what's a fair amount.

Jordan's lawyers argue that the fair market value for the basketball star's "identity" should be determined by precedent, meaning the amount that Jordan has fetched from previous endorsement deals—Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College placed the value of Jordan's identity around $10 million—or by considering the "amounts received by comparable persons for comparable uses."

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Basically Jordan's camp is saying that he would never do a deal for less than $10 million, matching up with how he's done it in the last decade. Since 2002, Nike has paid him $480 million, Sirius radio $25 million, Gatorade $18 million, Hanes $14 million, Upper Deck $14 million, XEL (a fragrance company) $10.6 million, it was revealed during discussions in the courtroom on Wednesday.

Separately, and importantly, Jordan's rate for personal appearances, or to be included in something like a game or video, can range anywhere from $5,000 to $500,000.

Rodney Fort, an expert testifying for the grocery store, wants to use those smaller appearance numbers, rather than the full endorsement value. Fort places the fair market for Jordan's persona closer to $126,900, according to court documents.

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Jordan's lawyers initially argued that due to his celebrity, the courtroom should be closed to the press, thus not revealing the staggering sums. But U.S. District Judge John Robert Blakey decided against that. Blakey did, however, poke some fun into the proceedings, asking how potential jurors might be impartial.

"We should check if he was wearing Hanes," the judge said, in reference to one of the potential jurors.

Jordan's Jump 23 Inc. holds a trademark on the number "23" itself when associated with "bar, restaurant and catering services."

In a possibly intentional and definitely humorous twist, the "23" trademark is first mentioned in line 23 of the complaint filed against Dominick's. "Jordan has long been associated with two fine steak restaurants," the complaint reads.

Moreover, the very first factual statement in the complaint is "Jordan is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player in history."

In a more serious shade against Dominick's, line 21 of the factual statements say, "Jordan would never permit Dominick's to use his identity in connection with any of Dominick's goods or services, especially not to sell steaks in direct conflict with restaurants and website."

Jordan's team declined to comment for this article.

And by the way, in the end, only two people used that coupon to save $2 off their grocery store steak.

—CNBC producer Jessica Golden contributed reporting to this article.