Michael Jordan to start own NASCAR team in 2021

(CNN) — NBA legend Michael Jordan will be trying his hand at a new sport soon, NASCAR.

Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin announced Monday they’d be teaming up to form a new NASCAR Cup Series team with Bubba Wallace as a driver, according to an announcement by the Charlotte Hornets and Jordan’s spokeswoman, Estee Portnoy.

Wallace has signed a multi-year deal to drive for the yet-to-be-named, single-car team.

The last Black man to own a full-time race team in NASCAR’s premier series was Wendell Scott, who owned and raced his own car from the 1960s into the early 1970s.

“I’ve been a NASCAR fan my whole life,” Jordan said. “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.”

NASCAR has historically 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,” he said.

Jordan acquiring a NASCAR team comes as diversity and inclusion efforts have become a focus in sports around the world with the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Protests calling for an end to racism and police reform have led companies, athletes and celebrities to come to terms with America’s racial strife.

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