NASCAR Superstar Denny Hamlin Celebrates 10-Year Association with Michael Jordan and ‘Jumpman’

Published 02/22/2021, 8:50 AM EST
CHARLOTTE, NC – MAY 16: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, stands in the garage area during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


NBA legend Michael Jordan and NASCAR star Denny Hamlin have been friends for quite some time now. Their Cup Series team, 23XI Racing, is undoubtedly also a symbolic gesture of the trust and mutual respect they share for each other as sportspersons.

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Back in the year 2011, though, Hamlin had also signed up with Nike as a ‘Jordan Brand’ athlete. The ‘Jumpman’ logo became prominently featured on his race suit, gloves, and other racing apparel as well.

The Joe Gibbs Racing No.11 recently took to Instagram to share a post of himself wearing the famed shoes with the Jumpman logo on them. Jogging everyone’s memory, Hamlin’s post served as a reminder that their association has now lasted a decade to this week.

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Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan have been friends for quite some time now

Hamlin’s post read, “10 years this week with @jumpman23. We’ve come a long way.” Indeed, the No.11 has had so many successes in the past decade that Nike would certainly be proud of.

 

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A post shared by Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin)

Contrary to what many think, Jordan and Hamlin had met long before they collaborated on their latest NASCAR joint-venture. Visiting a Charlotte Hornets basketball game back in the day, the JGR driver quickly struck up with Jordan, who remains the chairman of that team.

Through texts and conversations over the years, both athletes became good friends, and Hamlin also realized Jordan’s passion for NASCAR. Hence, it made complete sense when they teamed up together to execute the vision they had for 23XI Racing.

Hamlin has personally started off well, but 23XI Racing does not share the same fate

Though it has been just two races so far, the 40-year-old has gotten off the blocks with two impressive Top 5 finishes. Such was his ability, that Hamlin could very easily have won Sunday’s Daytona Road Course race.

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Daytona Beach, Florida, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace (23) makes a pit stop during the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

On the other hand, Bubba Wallace has had a bit of a rocky start, finishing 17th and 26th respectively so far. Although he has been in and around the Top 10 positions in both stages, the polished touch to land a solid finish is currently lacking.

Therefore, both Hamlin and Jordan would be expecting Wallace to improve in the forthcoming races. The former in particular would want to see results, considering he has also become a team owner now.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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