Michael Jordan could change the course of motorsports.
The six-time NBA champion and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin teamed up in 2020 to launch 23XI Racing, which competes in the NASCAR Cup Series. Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR, is the behind the wheel.
Wallace has yet to produce a win on the track, but his racing team’s apparel is already a hot commodity.
In December, 23XI’s first merch release sold out within five minutes, recalling flashes of the frenzy that led the Air Jordan I to more than $100 million in sales its first year on the market. The Jordan brand has made MJ $1.3 billion since he signed with parent company Nike in 1984.
“The future for them is just stunningly bright,” NASCAR managing director of consumer products Paul Sparrow said to GQ about 23XI.
If the racing team continues to see success with its apparel, it could very well end up competing more directly with Puma in the category. The German sportswear brand, a leader in motorsports fashion, welcomes it.
“The bigger awareness the general public has of motorsports, the better it is for all of us,” PUMA’s head of business unit marketing motorsport Anja Egger told GQ.
The Jordan brand has yet to officially work with 23XI, but it may only be a matter of time.