Amid Noose Incident, Jeff Gordon Shared His True Thoughts on Bubba Wallace-Michael Jordan $150 Million Alliance in 2020

Published 10/04/2022, 9:05 AM EDT
WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK – AUGUST 08: NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan and co-owner of 23XI Racing looks on from the 23XI Racing pit box during the NASCAR Cup Series Go Bowling at The Glen at Watkins Glen International on August 08, 2021 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Back in 2020, NBA legend Michael Jordan announced his big entry into the world of stock car racing. And his partner in crime in NASCAR was to be Denny Hamlin. Of course, we’re talking about 23XI Racing, which gave Bubba Wallace his first big break since his entry into the Cup Series with Richard Petty Motorsports.

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Naturally, everyone had their own opinions on someone like Jordan entering the world of NASCAR. Of course, they were all mixed, but some people were quite happy about it. And Jeff Gordon was one of those.

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Right when the big news came out, NASCAR on FOX had a discussion on this. Now, this was quite a pressing topic at the time it came out. Especially with the noose conundrum clouding Bubba Wallace’s name and what he stood for. So, for Jordan and Hamlin to opt for Bubba brought even more questions to them.

But according to Hendrick Motorsports legend (and current Vice Chairman) Jeff Gordon, that was the main reason it was such a good deal.

He explained why it was good for the NBA legend to join the sport, “He’s one of the most iconic sports figures there’s ever been, a huge name around the world, and a smart businessman. This only adds tremendous value to NASCAR. Obviously, his stance on diversity, that is only going to affect the sport positively.”

Of course, he highlighted how the Basketball icon and Wallace made such a good duo as he added, “You see Bubba Wallace and the stance he’s been taking. I mean, this is a perfect match in my opinion.”

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But how did they come up with the name?

What’s the story behind Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin’s team?

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23XI first brought their cars to the track in the 2021 season, with Bubba behind the wheel of their first and only car, the #23 Toyota Camry. Soon, they bought another charter as they welcomed Kurt Busch into the team to drive for the #45 team. But what does the name 23XI mean?

It doesn’t matter if we’re multiple cars down the road. The 23 will always represent him, the 11 always represents me,” Hamlin explained to reporters. “But I also wanted to be respectful to Joe Gibbs Racing and not actually have, you know, the number 11 in the logo being that they have that number. So it’s just kind of a balance of all that.”

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WATCH THIS STORY: “My Girlfriend & I Were Going Through a Breakup” – Bubba Wallace Explained His Depression Revelation, Made on Dale Jr’s Podcast, in 2020

The name really is as straightforward as it seems. It just includes Jordan’s iconic #23, and the #11 that Hamlin has been associated with for years. Of course, the simplicity helps because that name carries the legacy of two icons of their respective sports that came together. but what do you think about that name? Let us know in the comments.

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Hetul Katyal

433 articles

Hetul Katyal is a NASCAR and F1 Writer at Essentially Sports. Currently pursuing his degree in Journalism from Delhi College of Arts and Commerce. When the Stock Cars rev up, you can find him cheering Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch, in hopes of seeing one of them drive to the Victory Lane.

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