NBA legend Michael Jordan will soon be trying his hand at another sport: NASCAR racing.
Jordan is teaming up with three-time Daytona 500 winner, Denny Hamlin, to form a new NASCAR Cup Series team. Hamlin announced the partnership on social media on Monday (Sep. 21) and Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only Black driver, was named as their first driver.
“Eleven years ago I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game and we became fast friends,” Hamlin wrote. “Not long after, I joined Jordan Brand as their first NASCAR athlete. Our friendship has grown over the years and now we are ready to take it to the next level.
“I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life,” Jordan said. “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.”
“The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more,” he added.
Wallace reportedly signed a multi-year deal to drive for the team, whose name has yet to be revealed. “This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career,” Wallace wrote on social media. “I am grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”
Earlier this year, Wallace led the call for NASCAR to ban the confederate flag as racial tensions continued to build in the country following the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd. He was also the subject of a probe after an alleged noose was found hanging in his garage stall before one of his races.
Jordan’s new team will bring some much needed diversity to NASCAR. According to CNN, Wendell Scott was the last Black man to own a full-time racing team. He owned and raced his car from the 60s to the 70s.