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.