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Michael Jordan is beefing up his resume. The NBA legend and business mogul has added NASCAR team owner to his list of accolades.
Jordan is partnering with three-time Daytona 500 winner, Denny Hamlin, to launch the team in 2021. Bubba Wallace has been tapped as a driver.
In an interview with NBC Sports, Jordan spoke about how the collaboration came together and confirmed that he’ll be just as competitive in NASCAR as he was in basketball. “It was one of those things, again, it’s always been on my mind,” he said of owning a team. “I go with my gut feeling. When the time is right you know it. When this was presented to me, I felt good about it. When Bubba was involved in the whole conversation I felt good about it.”
Jordan continued, “My biggest conversation with Denny was, ‘Look, I don’t want to get in there to just go around the races and just go around and around and around and finish up 18th, 19th, 20th, 30th. I want to win. I want to be put in a position for the best chance for us to win. That’s my competitive nature. That’s always been who I am.”
As one of only two Black co-owners for a Cup team (the first is Brad Duagherty) and the first Black majority owner in NASCAR, Jordan hopes to provide more opportunities for Black people in the sport.
“To me, you’re basically diving into a situation where very few Black people have been present into the NASCAR arena. In essence, you’re going in with the opportunity to expand that and to give a different lens to NASCAR as a whole,” he explained. “For so long, it’s been viewed from a negative aspect with the Confederate flag and all these other things that occurred.
“Now you go in with NASCAR making an effort to change the perspective and try to attract and connect to the next generation without losing something for today’s authenticity of the sport presented an opportunity for me to get involved in this whole process and know that I am spearheading a thought process of Blacks getting involved in NASCAR when in essence very few have since 1960s (when Wendell Scott competed and owned his own cars).”
For current NASCAR fans, the 57-year-old retired athlete noted that he isn't trying to “change and shape NASCAR.” Still, Jordan hopes that fans who have followed his career will support NASCAR as well.
“I go in with my passion. I hope that whoever knows Michael Jordan or whoever supports Michael Jordan, whoever supports NASCAR [sees] this as an opportunity to enjoy the sport.”
When WNBA star Maya Moore first met her now husband, Jonathan Irons, their relationship was strictly platonic. Things changed after she helped to get his wrongful conviction overturned, and the happy couple recently tied the knot.
“We wanted to announce today that we are super excited to continue the work that we are doing together, but doing it as a married couple,” Moore told Good Morning America on Wednesday (Sept. 16). “We got married a couple months ago and we're excited to just continue this new chapter of life together.”
Catch us tomorrow on @GMA with @RobinRoberts! #winwithjustice pic.twitter.com/0z1B1RRS2b
— Maya Moore (@MooreMaya) July 2, 2020
Irons was 16 years old when he was tried as an adult and falsely convicted by an all white jury and sentenced to 50 years for a burglary and shooting. He maintained his innocence throughout, but he would have never been convicted had the case been handled properly. Aside from being wrongfully identified in a lineup, fingerprint evidence that could have proved his innocence was withheld from his lawyers. After serving 23 years for a crime he did not commit, Irons' conviction was overturned in March.
Moore, 31, has known Irons, 40, since she was 18 years old. The two met through a prison ministry program and their relationship slowly transitioned from a friendship to romance. Irons confessed his love for Moore while incarcerated at Missouri's Jefferson City Correctional Center. “I wanted to marry her but at the same time protect her because being in a relationship with a man in prison, it's extremely difficult and painful. And I didn't want her to feel trapped and I wanted her to feel open and have the ability any time if this is too much for you, go and find somebody. Live your life. Because this is hard.”
He popped the question in their hotel room following his prison release. “It was just me and her in the room and I got down on my knees and I looked up at her and she kind of knew what was going on and I said, ‘will you marry me,’ she said, ‘yes.’”
Moore, a small forward for the Minnesota Lynx, is taking a break from basketball and has been working alongside her husband to encourage people to vote. The newlyweds also plant to advocate for others who have been wrongfully convicted.
See more on their love story in the video below.
Vanessa Bryant came to LeBron James’ defense after Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva challenged the NBA star to donate $175,000 in reward money to help catch the suspect who shot two officers in Compton last weekend.
“This challenge is to LeBron James,” Villanueva said on Monday (Sept. 14). “I want you to match that and double that reward. Because I know you care about law enforcement, you expressed a very, very interesting statement about your perspective on race relations and officer-involved shootings and the impact it has on the African American community and I appreciate that.”
Taking to her Instagram Story on Monday, Vanessa tagged James in a reposted a comment that read: “He shouldn’t be challenging LeBron James to match a reward or ‘to step up to the plate.’ He couldn’t even ‘step up to the plate’ and hold his deputies accountable for photographing dead children.” The statement was in reference to deputies taking photos at Kobe Bryant's crash site. The grieving widow also reposted another comment reading, “How can he talk about trusting the system? His sheriff’s dept. couldn’t be trusted to secure Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash scene, his deputies took and shared graphic photos of crash victims. Vanessa Bryant is suing them.”
In January, Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, died in the tragic plane crash along with seven other victims. According to Vanessa’s lawsuit, Villanueva assured her that the crash site had been secured.
“In reality, however, no fewer than eight sheriff's deputies were at the scene snapping cell-phone photos of the dead children, parents, and coaches,” the claim states. “As the department would later admit, there was no investigative purpose for deputies to take pictures at the crash site. Rather, the deputies took photos for their own personal purposes.”