NFL News on Yahoo Sports:

Jay Busbee

Denny Hamlin brings Michael Jordan to NASCAR, sort of

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

View photo

DAYTONA BEACH — Denny Hamlin, 2010 NASCAR runner-up and avowed basketball fan, has brought a fine new sponsor to NASCAR: Nike's Jordan Brand. Like Dwyane Wade and Derek Jeter, Hamlin is now rocking the skying-Michael-Jordan jumpman logo, as you can see there at right, on his firesuit, gloves and shoes.

Hamlin, a huge hoops fan — you'll recall that's how he tore up his knee this time last year — struck up a friendship with Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. And from there, boom — logo city.

"It's a big deal for myself and really NASCAR," Hamlin said Thursday at Media Day. "The Jordan Brand has never been in NASCAR before. It is a dream come true for me. To me the Jordan Brand represents excellence in sports." Jordan has owned a motorcycle team since 2004, and, as they say, game recognize game:

"Denny's confidence and passion for racing along with his determination for excellence on the track make him a valuable addition to the Jordan Brand," Jordan "said" in a press release. "We look forward to working with Denny as he continues to take his success to the next level."

While Hamlin hasn't yet gotten to duel Jordan one-on-one — and considering Hamlin's propensity for injury as well as Jordan's still-sharp skills — he nonetheless notes that this will vault him, and by association NASCAR, to a new level of perception. If Hamlin starts showing up in Nike commercials, where's the downside? As long as it's not a Super Bowl gag ad, that is.

This isn't the first time a major sneaker manufacturer has entered NASCAR; adidas sponsored Dale Earnhardt Jr. starting back in 2007. But this isn't really a sneaker-branding deal; it's a lifestyle-association one. If Hamlin is able to bring a little of that Jordan cachet to NASCAR, hey, so much the better.

Win cash prizes, pick a fantasy roster for just one day, join in minutes!

Learn how to play

Contest Entries Entry Fee Prizes Starts (EDT)
EPL $20K Nobody Loses 891/10000 $1 $20000 Saturday 10:00 AM Enter
NBA $15K Tournament [$2K to 1st] 2829/3410 $5 $15000 In 51 minutes Enter
NBA $10K Tournament [$1K to 1st] 366/455 $25 $10000 In 51 minutes Enter
View Comments (0)