Keeping $150 Million NASCAR Team’s Feat at Bay, Michael Jordan Consoles Outperformed Bubba Wallace After Charlotte Embarrassment

Published 10/09/2023, 7:30 AM EDT

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With how close Charlotte and its people are to him, Michael Jordan is always in town with high expectations. His racing team’s stint in his beloved city didn’t pan out the way he and his drivers wished. Despite his notorious competitive drive, MJ played his part as a team owner with dignity. It proves his driver’s claims that Michael Jordan is a better NASCAR team leader than people give him credit for.

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Jordan’s team 23XI’s star driver, Bubba Wallace, had an underwhelming end at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Not disheartened, he kept his team’s spirits up in a heartwarming moment.

Michael Jordan uplifts NASCAR team’s spirit

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When Michael Jordan spent $150 million to get into the NASCAR business, he naturally had the same aspirations that won him six NBA championships. Those expectations were riding on Bubba Wallace’s shoulders at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on October 8. It was also Wallace’s 30th birthday. But his birthday wish didn’t work out.

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Wallace was vying for a spot in the Round of 8 but he got eliminated from the playoffs. He lost to fellow 23XI star, Tyler Reddick. With Reddick carrying 23XI Racing’s hopes for this seasons, Jordan and Wallace took this defeat graciously.

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Despite his team winning pole position through Reddick, Mike remained gracious in consoling his other driver.

A clip on X surfaced of the Hall-of-Famer owner’s interaction with Wallace and his crew. However, the moment runs deeper than that. “I’ll see you,” both Jordan and Wallace exchange as the imposingly tall His Airness gives the racer commending little pats. Despite Wallace looking disheartened, Jordan showed positivity.

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He’d go to Bootie Barker immediately. Wallace’s crew chief had been open about wanting to impress the Chicago Bulls legend ahead of the race with the No. 23 Toyota driver’s growth in the team. He may have not fulfilled it but he still got an encouraging hug from Jordan.

Though he has an invincible image from his NBA playing days, Jordan has been open about all the losses and missed shots too. He can take losing gracefully too. Even if he’s not had enough luck in Charlotte.

MJ’s image as a team owner gets makeover

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There were high expectations when Michael Jordan transitioned from NBA player to NBA team owner through the Charlotte Hornets.

The team however didn’t have the most successful run in his tenure. It would lead to Jordan listening to critics and backing out of the ownership group with a $3 billion deal. His unfair reputation as a team owner followed him to 23XI Racing.

But the team’s co-owner, Denny Hamlin would come to his defense, even joking he’s better at NASCAR team ownership than he was in the NBA operations. He would call Jordan a “very engaged” owner for the way he interacts with Bubba Wallace and Bootie Barker at every race.

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The 23XI duo is also probably positive because they still have Tyler Reddick in the running. That gives us more chances to see Michael Jordan the NASCAR team hype man this season. What do you think about this side of MJ?

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Written by:

Caroline John

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Caroline John is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. She has been covering athletes outside the sports arena since the start of her reporting career. A writer at heart, she graduated with a degree in journalism from a reputed university.
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Edited by:

Aakash Nair

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