NASCAR: Michael Jordan buying into a Cup team?

Michael Jordan (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)
Michael Jordan (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images) /

A rumor recently emerged that NBA legend Michael Jordan would be buying into the Richard Petty Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team.

It’s NASCAR Silly Season — after all, when isn’t it anymore? — and that means that there are all kinds of rumors flying around about the futures of numerous drivers, teams and manufacturers.

One of the focal points of this year’s Silly Season has become Richard Petty Motorsports’ Bubba Wallace. He and the #43 team have made marked improvements in their third year together following two disappointing finishes of 28th place in the championship standings.

But the 26-year-old Mobile, Alabama native is in a contract year, and he has more than one option on the table regarding potential 2021 landing spots.

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He already holds an ownership stake in Richard Petty Motorsports, but he has reportedly been offered a greater ownership stake in the team to get him to return behind the wheel of the #43 car, which would require him to turn down an offer from Chip Ganassi Racing to drive the #42 Chevrolet and perhaps other offers that have not been publicly confirmed.

A few weeks ago, Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern reported that Richard Petty Motorsports co-owner Andrew Murstein stated that the team have attracted multiple potential investors, and one of those investors is a celebrity. He did not name names.

Earlier this week, NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan was identified as the possible celebrity, and a report emerged that Jordan along with Wallace and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Denny Hamlin, who himself has had a deal with Nike’s Michael Jordan Brand for several years, would be purchasing a stake in Richard Petty Motorsports and that the team would be switching manufacturers from Chevrolet to Toyota and adding a second car.

But according to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass, that won’t be the case, despite this report.

With that being said, additional sources have also reported this rumor, with one saying that it is “all locked in“.

In other words, we are smack dab in the middle of Silly Season.

As to whether or not any other aspects of this rumor are true, that remains to be seen. But with Leavine Family Racing shutting their doors after the 2020 season, it would make sense for Toyota to try to land another Cup Series team, given that Joe Gibbs Racing are currently slated to be the only chartered Toyota team in the sport next year.

As for Hamlin buying into Richard Petty Motorsports, that rumor has been in the works for quite some time, but it is a bit murky as well due to a current NASCAR rule that says he cannot drive for a four-car team and own a fifth car.

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It will be interesting to see how this whole scenario plays out, first and foremost in terms of whether or not Bubba Wallace re-signs with Richard Petty Motorsports to drive the #43 car for a fourth season in 2021. That decision should be known in the very near future.