JOR­DAN EN­TERS CAR RAC­ING

I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life

Daily Tribune (Philippines) - - SPORTS -

LOS AN­GE­LES (AFP) — Bas­ket­ball icon Michael Jor­dan an­nounced Mon­day he has pur­chased a NASCAR Cup se­ries char­ter team and re­cruited trail­blaz­ing black driver Bubba Wal­lace to race for the new out­fit next sea­son.

Jor­dan, widely re­garded to be the great­est player in NBA his­tory with an es­ti­mated net worth of $1.6 bil­lion, will be the ma­jor­ity owner in the new fran­chise with vet­eran racer Denny Ham­lin as mi­nor­ity part­ner.

“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,” Jor­dan said in a state­ment.

“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, who also owns the Char­lotte Hor­nets NBA team, said he hoped his own­er­ship could bring new au­di­ences to the white-dom­i­nated world of NASCAR and boost in­volve­ment of mi­nori­ties.

“His­tor­i­cally, NASCAR has strug­gled with di­ver­sity and there have been few black own­ers,” Jor­dan said.

“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.”

Wal­lace, the only black driver in NASCAR, will spear­head the team be­hind the wheel. The 26-year-old had con­firmed ear­lier this month that he would not race again for Richard Petty Mo­tor­sports.

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.

Wal­lace has spo­ken out against racism re­peat­edly this year in the wake of Ge­orge Floyd’s killing in Min­neapo­lis, and in June called on NASCAR chiefs to ban the Con­fed­er­ate flag from race­tracks used on the cir­cuit.

FRANCK FIFE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MICHAEL Jor­dan is set to ful­fill a child­hood fan­tasy.

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