Michael Jordan Gets Into the NASCAR Game The basketball great will field a Cup car with Bubba Wallace behind the wheel.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Growing up in North Carolina, Michael Jordan used to go to NASCAR races with his family, and now His Airness will become the sport's first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup team since Wendell Scott drove his own race car from 1961 to 1973, according to ESPN.
Jordan is teaming up with three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin to form a NASCAR Cup Series team. The driver will be Bubba Wallace, who is the only Black driver in the Cup Series and made headlines earlier this year after he successfully asked NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its races.
"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 tweeted. "I'm grateful and humbled that they believe in me, and I'm super pumped to begin this adventure with them."
Making a statement
Jordan, who also owns the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and has a net worth of $1.6 Billion, has been using his money to combat systemic racism. Last June, he pledged $100 million over 10 years to "organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education."
He sees his investment in NASCAR not only as a good business move but also a step toward racial equality. "Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity, and there have been few Black owners," he said in a statement. "The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more."
Mike's last dance in motorsports
Jordan's foray into NASCAR is not his first time dabbling in motorsports. Mike also likes motorbikes. In 2004, he launched the Michael Jordan Motorsports Racing Team in the AMA Pro Superbike series. That venture was not as successful as he hoped — he only had one win in 10 years.
But he and Hamiln are confident this time will be different. "Bubba has shown tremendous improvement since joining the Cup Series, and we believe he's ready to take his career to a higher level," Hamlin tweeted. "He deserves the opportunity to compete for race wins, and our team will make sure he has the resources to do just that."