Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan formed an unlikely friendship many years ago, and since then, the NASCAR star and the NBA icon have become one powerful duo. Though both come from extremely different sports backgrounds, Hamlin and Jordan can’t help but bond over their passions for taking home championship titles.
Hamlin and Jordan are extremely motivated men, so it made total sense when they teamed up as the owners of a new NASCAR team. In September 2020, they announced professional stock car racer Bubba Wallace would be the driver of their single-car NASCAR Cup Series team for 2021 (via ESPN). Not long after, Hamlin and Jordan revealed the name of their team, 23XI Racing (via NBC Sports).
At the time of the announcement, Jordan expressed his excitement for having the “opportunity to own [his] own racing team” alongside Hamlin. “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,” the former professional basketball player said in a news release (via Autoweek).
Hamlin also marveled over the historical moment. On Instagram, the Daytona 500 winner uploaded a photo of the two. “Our friendship has grown over the years and now, we are ready to take it to the next level,” he penned. Though Hamlin and Jordan are taking on this new journey as business partners together, their relationship goes way back. Keep scrolling to learn more about Hamlin and Jordan’s bromance.
Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan have been 'great' friends for more than a decade
Long before Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan teamed up as the owners of a single-car NASCAR Cup Series team, they established a strong bond. In fact, many don’t know that their relationship goes all the way back to 2009. “I met Michael Jordan at a then-Charlotte Bobcats game,” Hamlin explained in September 2020 on Instagram.
Despite their contrasting backgrounds, it didn’t take long before the NASCAR Cup Series competitor and the former Chicago Bulls player “became fast friends.” Hamlin then joined the Jordan Brand as the first NASCAR athlete in 2011 (via NBC Sports), and from that moment, their bond only grew. During an appearance on ESPN, Hamlin offered an idea of how close the two truly are.
“He’s a great friend first. Besides our relationship, in mind with the Jordan brand — he’s a friend first,” Hamlin gushed, noting Jordan is one of the most supportive people he’s ever met. When Hamlin doesn’t come in first, the basketball star always has the best advice to give his pal. “He’s like, ‘Keep digging, these bumps in the road happen. We’re going to face adversity like this,'” he recalled. “That’s a true friend.”
And if Jordan can’t make it to one of his races, Hamlin pointed out he’ll always make sure to give him a message. “He sends me a text nearly every week, congratulating me or wishing me luck,” he shared. These two are BFF goals!
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