Sports’ first billionaire Michael Jordan is not restricting himself to just basketball. The Charlotte Hornets owner has bought a majority stake in a new NASCAR team.
In a sport dominated by the vast majority of white folks, Jordan’s foray into the club is a welcome move. Founded in 1948 at Daytona Beach, the stock car racing sport has since grown to include 1500 races on its calendar at over 100 different locations. It has now become the most popular motorsport in the United States.
Michael Jordan buys a majority stake in new NASCAR team
Jordan released the following statement to the press with the announcement of his new team:
“Growing up in North Carolina, my parents would take my brothers, sisters and me to races, and I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life. 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.” Michael Jordan said.
“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.” he added.
According to Jordan, he is getting into the sport, one because of the commercial value it brings to him and two because of how NASCAR is now working towards getting more black drivers into the sport.
The 6 time NBA Finals MVP saw an opportunity to invest in an African-American driver in Bubba Wallace. Wallace’s contract with his current team Richard Petty Motorsports is up at the end of this season. Wallace is among the major voices for the Black Lives Matter movement in the NASCAR circuit.
Wallace placed ‘Black Lives Matter’ as a sponsor message on his car in a race this season. He was also recently in the news for a rope tied up in the form of a noose – an incident later declared to not be a hate crime by the FBI.