NASCAR Cup Series: Bubba Wallace happy but not satisfied after first top-5 finish with 23XI Racing

With his boss Michael Jordan watching from a Pocono Raceway skybox, Bubba Wallace wheeled his 23XI Racing Toyota Camry to fifth place on Sunday, registering the team’s first-ever top-5 and top-10 finish in the NASCAR Cup Series.

“We had a strategy and we stuck to it,” Wallace said postrace on Sunday. “Just proud of the effort, and got to keep going”.

That strategy involved riding out a classic fuel mileage race at Pocono on Sunday, being one of the few cars to make it to the finish line with fumes in the tank. Joe Gibbs Racing alliance teammate Kyle Busch came across the finish line first with less than a lap of gas and the car stuck in fourth gear to secure the victory.

“Good all-around weekend for the organization,” Wallace said. “[Busch has] been strong here at Pocono, [and] it’s good to see a Toyota in Victory Lane”.

With the invert from Saturday’s race at Pocono, Wallace started Sunday’s event in seventh place and came across the finish line fifth to end Stage 1. The 27-year-old dropped back to 17th at the end of Stage 2, however, the team’s fuel strategy enabled them to climb up to fifth by the end of the race.

“It’s so easy to get put in the hornet’s nest [at Pocono],” Wallace said. “I knew our car was good enough to be top-10, [but] I didn’t know it would come down to a nailbiter with fuel”.

Wallace earned 38 points in Sunday’s top-5 finish, putting him 20th in the standings with seven races remaining until the start of the playoffs. He sits just 54 points outside the top-16 of points, well within striking distance of the postseason grid. However, the only obstacle standing in Wallace’s way are three high-speed road courses on the schedule, including Road America this weekend.

“I’m excited [about Road America],” Wallace said. “It’s been six years [since I’ve been there], but it’s like riding a bike. [I’ve] been there on the TRD simulator, it’s been good. [I’ll] plug in some time next week and really get ready”.

Although Wallace and 23XI Racing are thrilled to check off a top-5 finish, the team is hungry for more.

“Hopefully we can get our No. 23 Toyota Camry to Victory Lane soon,” Wallace said. “Fifth is good, but it’s not great”.

Knicks coach Thibodeau: Randle, Ewing cut in the same cloth

More than three decades ago, Patrick Ewing fell into New York Knicks‘ lap with a stroke of luck in the 1985 Draft Lottery.

Ewing’s star had the staying power that made the Knicks relevant in the 90s.

Ewing had been the face of the Knicks for already a decade when Tom Thibodeau, a young and a rising star assistant coach in the NBA, joined Jeff Van Gundy’s coaching staff.

Thibodeau saw up close Ewing’s blue-collar approach to the game. He was there at Van Gundy’s side when the Knicks 1997 season crumbled with Ewing suffering a career-threatening wrist injury. Thibodeau saw how Ewing survived that fall and rebounded, leading the Knicks to a Cinderella run — becoming the first eighth seed to reach the NBA Finals — two years later during the lockout-shortened 1999 season.

More than two decades later, Thibodeau found his way back to New York, this time at the helm of an incredible rise from seven long years of misery.

Thibodeau has brought New York basketball back on the map. He’s made the Knicks relevant again like the Ewing-led teams in the good old days in the 90s.

Thibodeau found his Ewing in Julius Randle, a 6-foot-8 bruiser that has evolved into a sweet shooter and undisputed leader.

Randle’s combination of bully ball and sweet stroke from the perimeter is currently leading a nine-game winning streak, the franchise’s second-best stretch in the last 25 years.

Before Thibodeau took the Knicks coaching job, he laid out his blueprint on The Platform podcast in May last year.

“How you build a culture is you have to sell your vision to your best players and your best players have to sell it to the rest of the team,” Thibodeau said. “Your first meeting is the most important meeting of the year. You have to begin with the end in mind. What wins in the playoffs, these are the things that you have to do, building habits.”

Culture is the buzzword that hasn’t been associated with the Knicks since the 90s. Not even the brief success they’ve had with Carmelo Anthony at the beginning of the last decade had a culture set in place. It was tumultuous at times. Dysfunction blurred the Knicks’ vision.

Thibodeau changed everything right on his first meeting.

He sized up Randle. He came away impressed. And that set the tone for the amazing season the Knicks are having.

Thibodeau was sold on Randle as the team’s best player. He sold his vision to him, and all the rest followed like dominoes.

“It always starts with your best players,” Thibodeau said after the Knicks beat the Toronto Raptors for their league-best ninth straight win. “If they work like that and it sets the tone for the team. He’s relentless. It’s not an accident that he’s having the type of season that he’s having. His commitment — I saw see it from the moment I met him how committed he was in turning this around.”

A year ago, Randle was the most vilified Knicks player. The fan base was ready to move on from him when the Knicks front office took the slam-dunking Obi Toppin with their eighth pick in the Draft.

But as it turned out, the Knicks were not as ready as their fans to move on from Randle. In fact, the new front office led by Leon Rose, who is close to Randle’s CAA agent Aaron Mintz, was planning to hand the keys to the enigmatic forward.

When Knick’s new VP and senior advisor William Wesley aka World Wide Wes, called up Randle to ask his input on the coaching search, it was clear Randle’s words carried weight like the stars in the league.

That seminal moment empowered Randle’s incredible turnaround, which mirrored the Knicks’ success this season. No one saw it coming except for Randle, Thibodeau, and the front office.

Randle asked for a coach who will make him accountable. He got it.

Just like when Randle came to New York, Thibodeau’s return to the Knicks organization was met with mixed reactions after his flameout in his last stop in Minnesota.

But it took two polarizing figures — Randle and Thibodeau — to galvanize a Knicks team that looked lost for years.

“I think it’s critical for success, and I saw that right away,” Thibodeau said when asked to comment on Randle seeking accountability. “I asked him when I first got hired to come in for a few days because I wanted to see where he was conditioning-wise and get to know him a little bit. When I saw the way he came in and I saw the way he worked, and we had our first conversation, I pretty much knew. And I worked him out, so I felt like ‘OK, this guy has a great capacity for work, he has the ability to concentrate, he’s in great shape and you start there. He’s been tremendous. I’ve said it many times: he’s our engine. He’s been a great leader right from the start, and he’s growing. He’s still getting better.”

Thibodeau had seen that kind of leadership before. Ewing was the engine of Van Gundy’s Knicks teams. He was at Van Gundy’s side, having a courtside view of Ewing terrorizing the league. It can be argued he was the best player in the Eastern Conference, not named Michael Jordan during his time. And that also didn’t happen by accident, even though Ewing was gifted with the size and talent.

“I can recall back in the ’90s when I first arrived here as an assistant, the thing that blew me away was Patrick Ewing every morning in the offseason he was the first guy in the building,” Thibodeau said. “He worked like crazy. He got himself ready, and the rest of the team did the same. That’s leadership. It’s not what you say, it’s what you do. When you see an example like that it gives you confidence and it gives the team confidence.”

Randle was just five years old when Ewing led the Knicks’ improbable run to the NBA Finals in 1999. Ewing was already a decade removed from the league when Randle rose into a future NBA lottery pick in Dallas.

Randle wasn’t into Ewing. He grew up in Kobe Bryant’s era. He played with the Los Angeles Lakers legend who patterned his game after Jordan, Ewing’s tormentor.

But on his quest for his own greatness, moving from West to East, Randle finds himself having to hold up to the standard of the former Knicks great.

“It’s amazing,” Randle said when he was told of Thibodeau’s Ewing comparison. “I’ve asked him to talk about that before. He kinda gave me insight into what he saw first-hand. I pride myself on my work ethic. The greats, they did that before. The guy I idolized the most, the guy I look up to, is Kobe (Bryant). His work ethic was top-notch. There’s nobody better at putting the time in than him.”

Randle learned from one of the greatest in LA. He also yearns to learn from one of the best players ever to set foot in New York through the lens of Thibodeau.

The Knicks never had the luck of the draw again to find a franchise-changing player like Ewing. Their constant chase for stars that never came made them the league’s laughingstock and meme.

They always settled for the next best available talent but never panned out in New York.

As their targeted stars — Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — shunned them again two summers ago, they had Randle as a consolation.

Consolation was even an exaggeration at that time as media and fans alike frowned upon the three-year, $63-million signing of Randle.

But little did they know, what they had could be their next Ewing.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Walt Frazier’s game-worn Knicks jersey up for auction

In 2019, Walt Frazier’s 1970 Finals Game 7 jersey was sold for a whopping $100,081.20.

Two years later, another Frazier jersey believed to have been worn by the New York Knicks legend during one of their playoffs runs in the early 1970s is up for auction.

The Frazier jersey is among the iconic sports memorabilia items included in the Lelands 2021 Spring Classic Auction.

Walt Frazer jersey front

The auction runs through April 2, with the jersey forking over $8,000 so far after a starting bid of $5,000.

“The jersey has an interesting story. It was worn by Walt in the early 70s. Our consignor’s cousin was an employee for the Knicks at that time. He told us that each player has to hand in their jersey at the end of the season in order to pick up their [playoff] cheques,” Lelands director of acquisitions Jordan Gilroy told Empire Sports Media.

The consignor’s cousin was in charge of collecting the Knicks jerseys before turning it over to the late Danny Whelan, the team trainer for the Knicks’ two NBA championships.

The jersey’s tags are still intact, with Cosby size 46 and wash tag in the neck, partially stitched into the name’s lettering on the back. New York is stitched across the chest in individual lettering, number 10 on front and back, all in orange-on-blue tackle twill, while the name on the back is all blue. There is a minor stain on the left shoulder and a light pencil-written number 46 near the left armpit, possibly because the size was partially obstructed in the collar tag.

Walt Frazier jersey

In addition to Frazier’s jersey, the auction also includes Mike Trout’s 2011 MLB debut game-worn jersey, the penultimate Tom Brady rookie card, and a complete 132 card Fleer basketball PSA 10 set with the legendary Michael Jordan as a rookie.

The auction also marks Lelands’ biggest modern card offering ever, led by a fresh LeBron James 2019 Logoman 1/1 and Rookie RPA’s of Luka Doncic and Zion Williamson, among others. Also up for bid is a 2003 LeBron James Ultimate Collection Autographed Rookie, a PSA 9 Wayne Gretzky 1979 O-Pee-Chee Rookie, a 2003-04 Bowman Gold Chrome Refractors #123 LeBron James Rookie, a 2008 Emblems of Endorsement LeBron James, a 1998-99 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems #53 Kobe Bryant, a 2013 Prizm Silver Giannis Antetokounmpo PSA 10/10, a 2000 SP Authentic Tom Brady Signed Rookie, and a Patrick Mahomes 1/1.

Another auction centerpiece is a fantastic collection of Buffalo Sabres memorabilia, headlined by the actual puck from the very first goal in franchise history and game-used sticks from the team’s 1975 Stanley Cup Finals appearance. Additional highlights include game-worn jerseys and other gear from Sabres greats Dominik Hasek, Tim Horton, and Roger Crozier.

Also on the auction block is Steelers Hall of Famer Jack Lambert’s personal collection, including game-worn gear and awards. The trove even features his teeth holder from his Steelers locker, where he put his fake teeth before each game.

Additional auction highlights include original photos and one-of-kind negatives from the famed Brown Brothers archive, a Bear Bryant personally owned and worn houndstooth hat, a Babe Ruth signed 700th home run game ticket, one of the finest Ruth single-signed baseballs, a Christy Mathewson 1910 single-signed baseball, an Ernie Davis 1961 Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh game-worn jersey and game ball, a 1952 Topps near-complete set, a 1938-43 Mel Ott Giants bat, a circa 1955 Ted Williams Red Sox game-used glove, and an array of Secretariat memorabilia.

The auction also sports a wide variety of impressive pop culture and historical memorabilia, including a Whitey Bulger archive of handwritten letters and the last known photos of him.

To bid for the Frazier jersey and other memorabilia items in the Lelands 2021 Spring Classic Auction, visit https://auction.lelands.com/Lots/Gallery.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

NASCAR Cup Series Preview 2021: 23XI Racing

MJ is going from The Last Dance to his first NASCAR laps; what can we expect from his new venture with Bubba Wallace and Denny Hamlin?

2021 23XI Racing Driver Chart
Driver Car No. Crew Chief Primary Sponsor(s)
Bubba Wallace 23 Mike Wheeler DoorDash/McDonald’s/Columbia/Dr. Pepper/Root Insurance

History

Michael Jordan’s exploits with one “Dream Team” have been well documented. He might have another one brewing in Mooresville, a half-hour drive from his current hardwood dominion in Charlotte.

After months of rumors, Jordan formally announced his NASCAR venture in September, bringing along the accomplished Denny Hamlin as a co-owner. Bubba Wallace will pilot a Toyota appropriately bearing the No. 23, Jordan’s number during his legendary NBA endeavors.

NASCAR’s efforts to better itself in the current American landscape, such as the banning of the Confederate flag at their events, drew Jordan to team ownership in the racing circuit. Wallace is one of the most prominent African-American drivers in NASCAR history and has been one of the most prominent athletic voices in calling for social change.

“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,” Jordan said on the team website. “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.”

23XI (pronounced “twenty-three eleven”) made its unofficial debut during the Busch Clash exhibition on Tuesday night. With Wallace ineligible for the event, Ty Dillon drove the car to an 18th-place finish.

2020 in Review

Wallace’s activism worked alongside the best season of his Cup Series career. In his final year driving Richard Petty’s No. 43, Wallace more than doubled his career total with five top-ten finishes, including a fifth-place posting at Daytona last summer. His 22nd-place finish in the final standings was the best showing for the No. 43 since Aric Almirola came home 17th in 2015.

Wallace stated he often sets a goal at the start of the year to “not be a part of the headlines”. Obviously, circumstances forced to cast that quest aside.

“Every year I have that goal and I failed every year because there’s something that’s like, ‘Hey, I wanna, you know, not make any controversy.’ So something always happens whether it’s my doing or not, but it seems like it’s always my doing so,” Wallace said. Despite the active struggles, he believes the progress he created both on and off the track will lead to a brighter future on both a personal and circuit-wide level.

“I think we put NASCAR on the map in a lot of new areas with a lot of new fans looking to tune in this year, which is great. It’s important. It’s huge for all of us. We just need to keep the ball rolling.”

Meet the Driver

Bubba Wallace 

Experience: 4th full season
Career Cup Victories: 0
2020 finish: 22nd
Best standings finish: 22nd (2020)

As Wallace raised his voice beyond the track, his racing career has faced greater scrutiny. In an era where fans bemoan the idea that drivers have not “earned” their Cup Series rides, Wallace’s credentials cannot be questioned. He earned six victories at the Truck Series level and he was running fourth in the 2017 Xfinity Series circuit when his Roush Fenway Racing shut down due to sponsorship issues. He came home in the runner-up spot in his Daytona 500 debut a year later. Ideally, Wallace would be able to focus solely on his racing endeavors, but reality has reared its ugly head far too many times.

Despite the added scrutiny, Wallace is prepared to represent 23XI in a positive light. With the star power behind it, the team will undoubtedly be one of the most intriguing storylines for both diehard and casual fans alike. The ultimate judgment of the team will undoubtedly come through Wallace’s results, a challenge he’s more than happy to accept.

“I think I look at the races that we had driving the 43, the races where we were running up front and competing. We were strong,” I look at Indy two years ago and even last year, I know how to race against those guys. Do they expect me to be up there? No. And do they race me differently because of it? Yes. I think that’s the biggest thing that’s going to change for other drivers. It’s going to, hopefully, it’s like, ‘Okay, this kid, this guy, whatever, they call me, whatever, knows what he’s doing up here. And so we have to race him a little bit different.’

“I’m not expecting it to be a cake walk at all. We’re there to race and race hard.”

Outlook

With new fans, with big names comes undoubtedly high expectations. It’d be unfortunate, for instance, to see 23XI go the way of Hall of Fame Racing, a short-lived venture for Dallas Cowboys passing legends Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman. But, fortunately for 23XI, it’s not like they’re starting entirely from scratch. They’re operating in the former shops of defunct Germain Racing (a mid-budget team that fielded the No. 13 car for over a decade) and are working with a technical alliance with Hamlin’s current employers at Joe Gibbs Racing.

Wallace himself admitted that trying to win every single race is an unrealistic goal, though he hinted that he’s often set landmarks at two wins in a season. He did end up creating a reliable barometer while meeting with the media prior to arriving at Daytona.

“Do I expect to jump in and win right off the bat? No, not at all. I know the sport. If it was that easy, a lot of people would be doing it, but it’s not that easy,” Wallace said. “We start to build a resume at Daytona and build off that and continue to get better for our team. It’s going to take a couple of races, just like any new team will to get everything underneath us and make sure like, ‘Oh, we missed that last week.’ Let’s make sure we don’t do that and prepare for the next and build on that. Then once we get going and get a couple of races under our belts, then we can really start to pinpoint our weaknesses or our strong points and build off those and grow from those and learn from everything.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

NASCAR: 23XI Racing debuts first paint scheme for Daytona 500

NASCAR’s newest team debuted their new look on Thursday, one that channels the aesthetics of Michael Jordan’s glory days on the hardwood.

Cue up The Alan Parsons Project’s “Sirius”, because No. 23 is ready to emerge in the starting lineup.

23XI Motorsports unveiled its first full paint scheme on Thursday morning, as the new team funded by NBA legend Michael Jordan and current NASCAR star Denny Hamlin nears its debut at the 2021 Daytona 500. Bubba Wallace will pilot the Toyota in its maiden voyage and beyond with sponsorship from DoorDash, a San Francisco-based food delivery service.

The car itself channels the red jerseys Jordan wore during the height of his NBA powers with the Chicago Bulls, complete with a black No. 23. Wallace and Hamlin each offered their praise on their social media accounts, the latter describing it as “Clean, not messy. Just like schemes used to be”.

The scheme will likely be seen at several points this season, but the team confirmed that it will first be seen at the season-opener at Daytona. Unlike some other new teams, the No. 23 is locked into the main events through purchasing a charter from defunct Germain Racing. Sponsorship deals are also in place with McDonald’s, Columbia Sportswear, Dr. Pepper, and Root Insurance. Schemes and appearances with those sponsors will be released at a future date.

23XI (pronounced “twenty-three eleven”) is the latest business endeavor of Jordan, who is also the principal owner and chairman of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets. Jordan is the first Black principal owner of a NASCAR Cup Series race team since Hall of Famer Wendell Scott ran his own team over 13 seasons (1961-73), serving as the primary driver in that span. He enters the endeavor with Hamlin, the current driver of the No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and winner of 44 Cup Series races. Wallace, a six-time winner in the NASCAR Truck Series, is coming off a career-best season at the Cup level, earning five top-ten finishes and coming home 22nd in the final standings in his last season with Richard Petty Motorsports.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

NASCAR: Michael Jordan, Denny Hamlin’s team has a name

Denny Hemlin

The new NASCAR team’s name pays tribute to both Jordan and Hamlin’s iconic numerals, as Bubba Wallace will drive their first vehicle.

Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin unveiled the name of their new NASCAR Cup Series race team on Thursday, as their new venture will bear the name 23XI Racing. The name pays tribute to the number Jordan wore for a majority of his NBA career, while Hamlin’s No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota is represented via Roman numerals. Jordan’s number will also grace the track, as Bubba Wallace will drive the No. 23 Toyota when the team makes its debut next season.

“Michael and I have a shared vision for this team,” Hamlin said in a statement on the team website. “It’s exciting to see it reflected in the team name and on the race car with the iconic number 23 that Michael made famous.”

Jordan first wore No. 23 during his days at Laney High School (NC), encouraged to do by splitting the number his older brother Larry wore (45) in half. He could go on to keep the number for his collegiate and professional career with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards, with the exception of his return from a year-long retirement in 1995, when he took the aforementioned 45.

No. 23 has had a less cherished past in the history of the NASCAR Cup Series. No car bearing the number has finished in a Cup Series race’s top ten since Kenny Wallace did so with Bill Davis Racing at the Bristol event in August 2003. Al Keller was the last driver to win a race in such a car, his victory coming back in 1954. Notable drivers to previously represent the number include Michael Waltrip and current playoff driver Alex Bowman, who ran the numbers in his first season of full-time Cup Series racing with the low-budget BK Racing.

Hamlin’s No. 11 has a more cherished place in NASCAR history, as, in terms of wins, it’s the most successful number on the Cup Series circuit (224). Names like Hamlin, Ned Jarrett, Junior Johnson, Mario Andretti, Buddy Baker, A.J. Foyt, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Terry Labonte, and Bill Elliott have all contributed to that tally. Hamlin has earned seven wins this season and continues to compete for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series title. The No. 43 is second in that tally with 199 wins, all earned by Richard Petty. Wallace will run his final races in the car over the next three before joining Hamlin and Jordan’s endeavor. Petty’s race team announced this week that Erik Jones, currently Hamlin’s teammate at JGR, will succeed him the No. 43 next season.

The NASCAR Cup Series continues its trek toward the title at Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN). Hamlin will start seventh, while Wallace will start the race in 18th.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

NBA Icon and NASCAR Star Pair To Buy New NASCAR Team For Bubba Wallace

NBA legend and arguably the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan and current NASCAR star, Denny Hamlin, have partnered to purchase a charter for the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season and beyond. The charter belonged to Germain Racing, the current owners of the #13 GEICO machine driven by Ty Dillon. Jordan and Hamlin have immediately signed Bubba Wallace Jr. to be their driver for the foreseeable future as well.

The manufacturer and car number are yet to be announced, but one could assume the #23 is the favorite. As for sponsors, the new team will inherit Door Dash, Columbia Sports Wear, and McDonald’s, among other big-time sponsors that Bubba has added throughout the season. The team could also be sponsored by the Jordan brand or Nike itself. Michael Jordan will serve as the principal owner so that Hamlin can continue piloting the #11 machine.

This is what new owner and NBA Icon Michael Jordan said about his new team:

“Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters & me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life. The opportunity to own my own racing team in partnership w/my friend, Denny Hamlin, & to have Bubba Wallace driving for us, is very exciting.”

Jordan went on to talk about he and Hamlin’s unique bond and how it’s grown over the years. They also both hit on the potential of both Bubba as a driver and as a future star of the sport. Not only that, but they talked about the opportunity this will provide for the sport to bring in a brand new fan base.

Congratulations to Hamlin, Jordan, and Bubba on the deal. I’m incredibly excited to see this team develop and to see the audience expand as the sport itself diversifies.

The Last Dance Shows The Value of One New York Jets Player

New York Jets, Jamal Adams

The Last Dance has been the most talked-about fixture in the sports world as of recently. The documentary that highlights the career of Michael Jordan sheds light on what it takes to be great. Michael not only pushed himself to be the greatest player on the court at all times, but he pushed everyone around him to match his intensity. He was an intense leader devoted to helping his team perform at the highest possible level. That leadership style and overwhelming desire for success are what it takes to be a champion. In the past, there are very few New York Jets that fit into that category of guys “who hate to lose more than they love to win”, as Joe Douglas says. The Jets do have one player who fits the bill though, Jamal Adams.

Jamal Is A Jordan Esque Leader

Before you swipe to a different article, hear me out. I am NOT saying Jamal Adams is on Michael Jordan’s level of a professional athlete, however his leadership style emulates Jordan’s. Jamal is a vocal and outspoken leader. Connor Rodgers recently reported that many of his teammates get irritated by that aspect of his personality. The thing is, that’s what Michael’s teammates hated about him.

From saying “How bout them Cowboys”, after he helped the Jets upset his hometown team, to publicly calling out the Jets to give him help on both sides of the ball, to being the Jets’ biggest ambassador, Jamal has given the Jets an identity. Without Jamal, you can make the case that CJ Mosley and Lev Bell don’t come to New York. Jamal is the kind of guy who is capable and willing to change a culture.

Although his future is murky amid the reported contract impasse. Jamal has given everything to be a driving factor in the Jets turnaround. That emotion and drive is a part of the reason for the contract impasse. When the Jets floated his name around at the trade deadline, many within the organization said that Jamal felt personally betrayed. The New York Jets need to extend Jamal. Good teams don’t trade away their best players, and Jamal is undoubtedly the Jets’ best player. Although you can debate him on the field contributions based on positional value, nobody can debate his leadership value. If the Jets want to change the culture, the Last Dance documentary should be an example of the impact an outspoken leader, with an overwhelming desire like Michael Jordan and Jamal Adams to win, can have on a franchise and a city.