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The social importance of Jordan’s Nascar team

Michael Jordan will have a team in Nascar 0:41

(CNN Spanish) – NBA legend Michael Jordan takes the wheel and will try his luck as an owner in a new sport for him: Nascar.

Chicago Bulls star Denny Hamlin, a three-time Daytona 500 winner, announced Monday that they will team up to create a new team in that racing category. The driver will be Bubba Wallace, according to the announcement by the Charlotte Hornets and Jordan’s spokeswoman, Estee Portnoy.

Wallace signed a multi-year contract to represent the team that will have only one running back, and that still has no name.

The last black man to own a full-time Nascar team was Wenderll Scott, who owned the car that he himself raced in, in the 1960s and ’70s.

“I was a Nascar fan my whole life,” Jordan said. “The opportunity to have my own racing team, allied with my friend Denny Hamlin, and to have Bubba Wallace as our driver, is very exciting for me.”

Nascar has struggled for diversity and has had few black owners, Jordan said.

“The timing seemed perfect as Nascar is evolving and adhering to social changes more and more,” said the former basketball player.

The Jordan acquisition comes at a time when diversity and inclusion have been a hot topic in sports around the world, with the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement. Several protests calling for police reform and the eradication of racism prompted companies, athletes and celebrities to address the racial wounds that exist in America.

Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver this Nascar season, announced this month that he would be leaving the Richard Petty Motorsports team after the 2020 campaign. Wallace had been with the team for three seasons.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I think is a good step at this point in my career,” Wallace said Monday. “Michael and Denny are great competitors and they are focused on building the best possible team so they can compete for victory.”

In June, Wallace called for the Confederate flag to be banned from Nascar races, which the league finally did days later. He also had the Black Lives Matter message painted on his car that same month.

Denny Hamlin said in a statement that it “makes sense to lay the foundation” for his career after he retires from the sport.

“Michael and Bubba can be a very powerful voice together, not only for our sport, but also beyond,” said Hamlin.

With information from Homero de la Fuente

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