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Michael Jordan Celebrates Spoils of Victory at Talladega with Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing

For the first time since the debut of 23XI Racing, Michael Jordan experienced the thrill of victory, celebrating with Tyler Reddick after winning at Talladega.


hero image for Michael Jordan Celebrates Spoils of Victory at Talladega with Tyler Reddick, 23XI Racing

For the sixth time in the organization's three-plus seasons competing in the NASCAR Cup Series, 23XI Racing made the trip to Victory Lane, after Tyler Reddick's victory in Sunday's GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.

The organization was co-founded by basketball legend Michael Jordan and NASCAR Cup Series driver Denny Hamlin in late 2020, and while Jordan has been present at several NASCAR events since the team's debut, Sunday was the first taste of victory for the six-time NBA champion.

Making things even sweeter for Jordan, his brand was adorning the race-winning No. 45 Toyota Camry XSE at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, marking the second time Jordan Brand has parked it in Victory Lane at NASCAR's top level, and the brand's fifth top-five in 10 races.

"Denny [Hamlin] keeps saying I was bad luck when I come to the track, and today we proved him wrong," Jordan quipped. "He did a good job by wrecking so we could get up front, so that was actually pretty good."

As Reddick was able to maneuver around Noah Gragson, Brad Keselowski, and Michael McDowell in the final moments of the event, the energy surrounding the 23XI Racing team was electric, with the No. 45 crew celebrating with Michael Jordan, providing an awesome video, which was captured by Frontstretch.

"I'm very happy to be here to see it," Jordan continued. "Everybody tells me when we win we have a good celebration, but this is the first time I've been here. To my wife and my kids and everybody, yeah, we did it, I'm sorry I left you at home."

Despite being a globally recognized sports legend and a force in the business world, Jordan is much more than the incorrect assumptions of 'poster boy' or 'income source' for 23XI Racing, but rather an integral piece of the framework that has helped the organization get up to speed and in contention as quickly as it has.

Growing up as a NASCAR fan, Jordan has a thorough understanding of the position in which the organization currently sits, while also appreciating that a victory in the NASCAR Cup Series, much less at a legendary facility like Talladega Superspeedway, is a massive deal.

"As you know, this is the NBA Playoffs, right now, so this to me is like an NBA Playoff game," Jordan added. "I am so excited for the fans who support the sport itself. We've been working hard to try and get ourselves to compete against all of the top guys in this sport, but we've done a heck of a job just to be where we are, and for us to win a big race like this, it means so much to me, and for the effort that the team has done."

The now 61-year-old retired from playing professional basketball in April 2003, but more than two decades later, still has that competitive spirit that lives inside of him, which Jordan says he's transitioned into being a NASCAR Cup Series team owner.

"I'm all in. I love it, it replaces a lot of the competitiveness I had in basketball, but this is even worse because I have no control," added Jordan. "If I was playing basketball, I have total control, but I have no control so I live vicariously through the drivers, crew chiefs, and everybody. I'm very happy for 23XI."

The victory likely guarantees Reddick's spot into the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series post-season, as just the seventh winner in the opening ten races. But, for son Beau, a different kind of championship has been clinched -- being the coolest kid at school, after celebrating a NASCAR win in the arms of basketball legend Michael Jordan.

With team owners as committed to moving the needle as Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan have proven themselves to be, there's no doubt that Sunday at Talladega will not be the final time that Jordan visits Victory Lane, but the memory of the first will always loom large.

Photo Credit: James Gilbert, Getty Images

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