NASCAR is officially welcoming NBA icon Michael Jordan to the racing “family.” On Monday night, the official NASCAR Twitter account released a statement after the news surfaced that the former Chicago Bulls star plans to own a new Cup Series team featuring Bubba Wallace.
“We proudly welcome Michael Jordan into the NASCAR family, and look forward to watching Michael, Denny Hamlin and Bubba Wallace compete in 2021,” the statement reads. “Michael is an iconic sports figure and celebrated champion whose fiercely competitive nature has placed him among the greatest athletes of all time. His presence at NASCAR’s top level will further strengthen the competition, excitement and momentum growing around our sport. We wish Michael and his team tremendous success.”
Michael Jordan, 57, also spoke out about his excitement to join NASCAR as an owner. According to the legendary athlete, he grew up as a huge racing fan and regularly attended events with his family.
“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 writes. “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 further explains that he is excited to become part of a sport that is working to become more diverse. “Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners,” he continues. “The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more. In addition to the recent commitment and donation 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.”
Bubba Wallace Tweets About Teaming Up With Michael Jordan
On Tuesday night, Wallace, 26, took to social media to speak about the upcoming partnership. “This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career,” he writes. “I’m grateful and humbled that they believe in me and I’m super pumped to begin this adventure with them.”
Thousands of Twitter users responded to Wallace’s tweet. While many voiced their support for the new venture, others remained skeptical. Check out some fan reactions on Twitter below:
In addition to receiving criticisms over the new partnership, Bubba Wallace also recently felt fan backlash at Bristol Motor Speedway. Last Saturday, Wallace was met with boos after his introduction. Learn more here.