Yes, you read that headline right: 6-time NBA Champion and 5-time NBA MVP Michael Jordan will soon be joining NASCAR as a team owner.
In a press release by NASCAR, basketball legend (and G.O.A.T.) Michael Jordan will be the majority owner of a NASCAR Cup Series team. He will be joined by Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing who will serve as the minority owner of the new single-car team.
The racing team's name, manufacturer affiliation, car number, sponsors, and other details have yet to be announced. Set to drive for Jordan's racing team is Bubba Wallace, the series' lone African-American racing driver who recently left Richard Petty Motorsports.
But why would Jordan be interested in actually becoming a part of NASCAR? Well, besides his love for anything with four wheels (as evident on the ESPN Netflix docuseries 'The Last Dance'), Jordan himself has been a fan of NASCAR as he was growing up.
“Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters, and me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life. The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership with my friend, Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting for me,” said Michael Jordan, the former Chicago Bull, and current Charlotte Hornets owner.
More importantly, Jordan is looking to make NASCAR more diverse. With Wallace being the first-ever African-American driver to join the racing series, Jordan sees this as the perfect opportunity for NASCAR to further embrace social change with his new racing team.
“Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donations I have made to combat systemic racism, I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing,” added Jordan.
As for Wallace, who has already made 105 career starts and garnered 5 top-ten finishes this year, he is looking forward to driving for Jordan after leaving Richard Petty Motorsports.
“This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career. Both Michael and Denny are great competitors and are focused on building the best team they possibly can to go out and compete for race wins. I’m grateful and humbled that Michael and Denny believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”
With Jordan set to become a part of the racing competition, does this mean we'll be seeing his signature 'Jumpman' logo on the hood of a stock car in NASCAR? Or could we see the number 23 make an appearance on the car as well?