Michael Jordan 'Ecstatic' After Tyler Reddick's NASCAR win at Talladega

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Michael Jordan 'Ecstatic' After Reddick's WinJames Gilbert - Getty Images
  • NASCAR Talladega winner Tyler Reddick didn’t know team co-owner Michael Jordan was in attendance until after Sunday's race.

  • Jordan's brand was on the side of Reddick’s Toyota Camry XSE when he recorded his sixth career victory.

  • Jordan says that NASCAR ownership, "replaces a lot of the competitiveness that I had in basketball."

Basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships, is no stranger to success, but the excitement and joy he showed after Tyler Reddick’s victory in the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway took me back to 1982.

That’s the year Jordan fired the game-winning jump shot to give the University of North Carolina its second NCAA men’s basketball championship, ending a 25-year drought.

“I am so ecstatic,” Jordan told Fox Sports pit reporter Jamie Little after he scooped up Reddick’s 4-year-old son Beau and carried him to victory lane on Sunday. “We’ve been working hard, trying to get ourselves up to where we can compete against all the top guys in the sport, but we’ve done a heck of a job just to be where we are.

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Michael Jordan got to experience victory lane after his team’s driver, Tyler Reddick, won at Talladega.Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

"To win a big race like this, it means so much to me and for the effort that the team has done.”

Jordan had attended other NASCAR races but had never enjoyed victory lane with the team he co-owns—23XI Racing, whose shop colors honor Jordan’s years with North Carolina and the Chicago Bulls. Reddick didn’t know Jordan was in attendance until after the race.

“Maybe that was the trick, us not knowing that he was here, because in the past when we’ve known he’s here … we always push really, really hard … it would make it extra special if we were able to take him to victory lane,” Reddick said. “Maybe it was a good thing I didn’t know he was here until it was all said and done. To have him here to experience victory lane for the first time is really special.”

Jordan’s brand is one of the most recognizable in sports. It was on the side of Reddick’s Toyota Camry XSE when he recorded his sixth career victory. In fact, his shoe brand is so well-known that, that’s the way Beau identifies Jordan.

“Any time I have a pair of Jordans on or he does, I always ask the question, ‘Whose shoes are these?’ He says, ‘Michael Jordan’s shoes,’” Reddick said about his son. “In the moment, it means a lot, but as he gets older … and looking back on that, that’s going to be really, really cool.”

Reddick admitted his son probably thinks of his team co-owner as a shoe company, not a basketball player.

“I’ve got to probably play some highlights, some Finals matchups, and educate Beau a little bit better,” Reddick says. “That’s some homework I can do, play some old-school games for him so he can get a real good feel of how dominant he (Jordan) was in his prime.”

For now, though, NASCAR is Jordan’s focus, not basketball, and he equated the Talladega victory to winning a NBA playoff game.

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Winner Tyler Reddick (45) races with Jordan Brand sponsorship at Talladega.Icon Sportswire - Getty Images

“I’m all in. I love it,” Jordan said about NASCAR during his TV interview. “It replaces a lot of the competitiveness that I had in basketball, but this is even worse because I have no control. If I was playing basketball, I have total control, but I have no control, so I live vicariously through the drivers, the crew chiefs and everybody.”

Jordan and Brad Daugherty, co-owner of the NASCAR Cup team JTG Daugherty that won last year’s Daytona 500, shared success on the basketball court as teammates at North Carolina. Now, they both know the exuberance of a NASCAR victory lane.