Michael Jordan NASCAR Racing

The True GOAT’s Got Oil In His Blood: A Closer Look At Michael Jordan’s Foray Into Motorsports

Yes, the hoops legend knows more than just a thing or two about the racing world. Find out how Michael Jordan discovered his passion for motorsports.

When one thinks of the GOATs in motorsports, the usual suspects come to mind: Schumacher, Rossi, Loeb, Agostini, and Hamilton. But allow me to throw another name into the bunch…. Jordan.

No, I’m not referring to Eddie. I’m talking about his Airness… Michael Jordan.

You may have recently seen a post on social media of MJ in a NASCAR race, and wondered, what’s the GOAT of hoops doing there? Well, he’s a speed junkie and has been trying to leave his indelible mark in the world of motorsports. A devoted gearhead, Jordan’s passion for motorsports runs deep. In fact, when he inked his first NBA contract, he had to reluctantly bid farewell to his beloved motorcycle rides, a sacrifice perhaps compensated by years of roaring down highways in Ferraris.

Despite hanging up his helmet, his fervor never waned, culminating in the establishment of his own motorcycle racing team in 2004. Teaming up with seasoned racing manager Pete Mauhar, MJ orchestrated the swift creation of the Jordan Motorsports Racing Team, which competed in the AMA Pro Superbike series. From 2004 up until 2013, the team had some moments of brilliance, with several overall podium finishes in multiple seasons. There were rumors that a move to MotoGP was the next step, but for one reason or another, it never pushed through.

Michael Jordan Racing
(Photo credit: Toyota Racing on Instagram)

Fast forward to the present day, and Jordan’s automotive ambitions have evolved into a new venture: 23XI Racing, competing in the NASCAR Cup Series. Joining Jordan is NASCAR luminary Denny Hamlin. The team’s moniker, 23XI, pays homage to Jordan’s iconic jersey number and Hamlin’s own racing identity.

Fielding Toyota teams numbered 23, 45, and 50, with drivers such as Bubba Wallace (who has his own Netflix series) and Tyler Reddick behind the wheel, 23XI Racing has quickly established itself as a force to be reckoned with, bolstered by a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing.

From the hardwood to the high-speed oval, Michael Jordan continues to redefine excellence, proving that greatness knows no bounds. Jordan’s passion for both motorsports and hoops was on full display, a few days after his birthday in February 2022, when he watched his driver, Wallace, finish second in the Daytona 500 — moments later he hopped on a private jet and flew to Cleveland, for the NBA All-Star weekend festivities when the 75 Greatest were celebrated at halftime.

Jordan’s foray into motorsports isn’t merely a dalliance; it’s a testament to his insatiable hunger for competition and his relentless pursuit of excellence. Beyond the glitz and glamour of the NBA, he found solace in the roar of engines and the thrill of speed, carving out a niche for himself in an entirely different arena. However, the transition from basketball icon to motorsports mogul wasn’t without its challenges.

(Photo credit: Michael Jordan Motorcycles)

MJ hasn’t been the best in building a basketball team. Building a successful racing team from scratch is no easy feat, requiring not just financial investment but also strategic vision and sheer determination.

Yet, true to form, Jordan embraced the challenge head-on, leveraging his winning mentality to propel his team to success. 23XI Racing isn’t just a vanity project for Jordan; it’s a manifestation of his lifelong passion for motorsports and his desire to leave a lasting legacy in the sport. With each lap completed and each checkered flag waved, Jordan’s imprint on the motorsports world grows ever larger, solidifying his status not just as a GOAT of basketball, but as a true titan of speed.

Banner images from NASCAR on Facebook.

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