Legendary NBA star Michael Jordan has made headlines recently for announcing his ownership of a new NASCAR team, and his former college teammate Brad Daugherty has chimed in with a video produced by NASCAR on NBC.
Last week, Jordan and driver Denny Hamlin announced the new partnership for 2021. In addition, the team shared that they signed Bubba Wallace to be their first driver on the circuit.
Now, owner Michael Jordan’s former teammate at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Brad Daugherty is giving fans some background on the pair’s love for racing.
Daugherty says that Tobacco Road meant more to the two college athletes from North Carolina than just basketball. He says that he and Jordan connected through another Tar Heel state passion – NASCAR.
A native of Black Mountain, NC, Daugherty says he grew up watching drivers Robert Pressley and Jack Ingram battle it out at local speedways. In fact, Daugherty says he even wore the number 43 during his basketball career in honor of Richard “The King” Petty.
Daugherty said that Jordan’s dad used to take his family on day trips to the race track.
“We went to Darlington, Rockingham, Charlotte, Talladega …I’ve been a fan for some time,” Jordan explains.
More on Daugherty and Jordan’s Relationship with Racing
As the two friends moved up to the NBA, Daugherty says the pair still bled Carolina blue – for basketball and for racing. Daugherty went on to become a winning minority owner of NASCAR teams for more than 20 years.
For Jordan, his relationship with driver Denny Hamlin was the impetus that brought Jordan Brand to racing. Daugherty touched on the team’s new driver Bubba Wallace as well. He says Wallace has led a dynamic transformation as NASCAR banned confederate flags and recommitted to inclusion during times of great unrest.
“This is a huge moment for NASCAR, a cultural momentum shift,” Daugherty says. “This is people of all colors coming together to create an All-American race team already with championship lineage.”
Jordan’s former teammate says that with proper funding, equipment, and crew members, this will be the best chance ever for a black driver to win while driving for a black owner. He says it is an opportunity to shock the world, like Muhammad Ali once did.
“The appetite has been there, but the opportunity has never been there,” Jordan said of his new racing team. “This is a great opportunity. I’m excited.”
Daugherty concluded saying his longtime friend’s new venture is an opportunity to change NASCAR greatly. However, it will be done with a fundamental constant still towering in Jordan’s true colors – Carolina blue.