Michael Jordan Golfs with Denny Hamlin, Michael Waltrip Ahead of Daytona 500

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2021

Former NBA basketball player Michael Jordan looks on while smoking a cigar during during the Golf Digest U.S. Open Challenge on Bethpage State Park's Black Course, Friday, June 12, 2009, in Farmingdale, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)
Jason DeCrow/Associated Press

NBA legend Michael Jordan has arrived in Florida ahead of his debut as a NASCAR team owner in Sunday's Daytona 500, getting in a round of golf with Fox Sports commentator Michael Waltrip and Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin.

The trio played 18 holes Friday at Oceanside Country Club in Ormond Beach, per USA Today.

Jordan teamed up with Hamlin to form 23XI Racing in October. Bubba Wallace joined as the driver of the No. 23 Toyota after leaving Richard Petty Motorsports.

The six-time NBA champion told Fox Sports' Bob Pockrass he plans to remain an active owner—he also serves as governor of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets—but he doesn't want to take the spotlight from Wallace.

"I will attend the races. I'm not looking to overshadow Bubba at any point in time because at the end of the day, he's going to have to stand up on his own two legs," Jordan said. "He's going to have to race. I've always supported NASCAR physically. Will I support it even more so now? I'm pretty sure I will."

His team has formed a "technical alliance" with Joe Gibbs Racing, which counts Hamlin among its four Cup Series drivers, that will give Wallace a better chance to seriously compete in the team's first season.

Jordan and Hamlin, who's the two-time defending Daytona 500 winner, are both Charlotte residents and have become golf buddies over the years, per USA Today.

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The Great American Race is scheduled to see the green flag wave Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on Fox.