MJ is into racing, again

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - February 26, 2021 - 12:00am

Once upon a time after retirement, basketball legend and billionaire Michael Jordan had a superbike motorcycle team, appropriately named Michael Jordan Motorsports (MJ had this thing for racing as his parents took him and his brothers and sisters to races while growing up).  But after a few years, the venture failed because it failed to get the needed sponsorships, notwithstanding MJ’s vast resources.

And now, he’s back, this time with the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), partnering with three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin.  The team is called 23XI Racing, pronounced twenty-three eleven in obvious reference to MJ’s retired number and Hamlin’s car number which he had for so long. 

MJ’s connection with Hamlin began in 2008.   Jordan had just invested in the Charlotte Bobcats when it was still a new NBA franchise.  An avid basketball fan, Hamlin was courtside at the new arena during one home game when a security guard approached him at half time and said Jordan wanted to meet him. Long story short, a friendship was formed between them. Hamlin began sporting the Jumpman logo on his racing suits and wearing custom-made Jordan racing shoes. Naturally, Hamlin is the first NASCAR driver with an endorsement from the Jordan Brand.

For years, Hamlin and retired Cleveland Cavalier legend Brad Daugherty, who himself owns race teams in the NASCAR Truck Series and the JGT Daugherty Racing, persuaded Jordan to invest in NASCAR.  

Jordan said yes when they got hold of Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, Jr., the first and only African American driver in NASCAR’s Cup Series in fifty years who had several top-ten race finishes and in the process netting him millions in personal sponsorships.

“I think Bubba has the potential to be a champion. If I didn’t think so, I wouldn’t get into this”, Jordan said.  “Luck has a lot to do with winning in a lot of sports.  But if you feel you have the same knowledge and the same equipment, you give yourself a chance. Then it’s all up to the driver.”

More important is the technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, the team Hamlin had been with for more than 16 years in the Cup Series. JGR is the flagship organization of Toyota Racing Development which allows 23XI Racing to buy equipment and get technical information.

“Our partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota gives us the equipment, resources and expertise to do it,” said Jordan.  Wilson will be driving a Camry in the Chicago Bulls-inspired colors. The pit crew of course will be wearing those fancy Jordan shoes and crew uniforms.

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Related to driving, there are so many wise guys holding positions in government that proposes implementation of laws disregarding the situation of, in this instance, majority of vehicle owners. Requiring of car seats should had been done a long, long time ago, not at a time when people are simply overwhelmed with the dire circumstances. Buying household essentials is much more important this time rather than spending several thousands of pesos for a car seat, or perhaps a spend for a bigger vehicle if you have a big child.



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