Michael Jordan is now taking on a new challenge as a NASCAR owner. He is joining one of NASCAR’s most well-known racers, Denny Hamlin, to form the team with Bubba Wallace as the driver.
NASCAR is known for not being the most inclusive sport, severely lacking diversity. Jordan joins another former NBA player, Brad Daugherty, as the only Black owners at NASCAR’s elite Cup level. Bubba Wallace is currently the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level and has been for some time.
Jordan has come a long way when it comes to being a social justice advocate. He is known for staying away from any and all political issues, especially during his playing days. He has said that he doesn’t see himself as an activist, just a basketball player.
One of his most famous quotes came when he said “Republicans buy sneakers too.”
Jordan recently pledged to donate $100 million over the next 10 years to groups that are dedicated to ensuring racial equality. According to Jordan, diversifying the sport was a big part of wanting to become an owner.
“I see this as a chance to educate a new audience and open more opportunities for Black people in racing.”
Bubba Wallace has already had success in trying to push change in the sport. His car has Black Lives Matter painted on it. He also successfully urged NASCAR to remove Confederate flags at all events.
There was also an incident earlier this year where members of Wallace’s team found a noose hanging from a garage that had been assigned to him. This led to an FBI investigation which found that the noose had been there for months, before anyone knew he would be assigned to the garage.
This led to one of the more powerful moments in sports this year, when NASCAR drivers gathered around Wallace and showed him support.
Bubba Wallace is quickly becoming one of the most well-known drivers in the sport and for good reason. He is very active politically and one of the more outspoken athletes in all of sports. While Wallace has yet to win his first race, there’s no doubt that he is changing the sport for the better.
It’s dope to see some progress being made in terms of racial diversity in NASCAR. It is a predominantly white sport. Hopefully, Jordan and Wallace can continue to help promote the sport to be more racially diverse and bring in more Black fans who feel left out.