Most fans view Denny Hamlin solely as a NASCAR driver who also happens to be friends and business partners with 23XI Racing Team co-owner Michael Jordan. Many of those same people assume just because Hamlin has a relationship with the NBA GOAT doesn’t necessarily mean the three-time Daytona 500 winner can actually hoop.
Au contraire. New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and teammates Darius Slayton and David Sills found out this week when the three played on the driver’s full-length home court and learned that not only can he play, he’s got range that even Jordan never displayed during his career.
Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan friends and business partners
Denny Hamlin partnered with Michael Jordan a decade ago as the first NASCAR driver to sign on with Nike’s Jordan brand. That partnership appears every weekend in the form of the “Jumpman” logo on Hamlin’s firesuit, gloves, and shoes.
In 2020, the pair took their business relationship to the next level with the formation of the 23XI Racing Team, which would feature Jordan’s familiar No. 23 car piloted by Bubba Wallace.
While their business relationship is most talked about, they’re also friends. That friendship includes playing rounds of golf together whenever time permits and Hamlin, despite not playing as often as Jordan, holds his own, as he proudly admitted after the two played a round just days before this year’s Daytona 500.
Denny Hamlin’s got game
Hamlin’s ability to play competitively with Jordan, whose love of golf is well-documented, suggests the driver is more of an athlete than most might give him credit. Interestingly, Hamlin also has an affinity for basketball. So much so that when he built his new home, he included a full-length indoor basketball court.
Hamlin has put the court to good use with the Hoop Group, a league he and fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. formed in 2014 that is more than your average pickup league and includes uniforms, referees, and a trophy for the championship winner. Other drivers that compete include Austin Dillon, Bubba Wallace, and other members of the NASCAR community.
This week, a friend asked Hamlin if Giants quarterback Daniel Jones and a couple of other players, including Darius Slayton, could take a break from training in Charlotte and stop by for some basketball on his court. He welcomed them and decided to join the fun.
At one point during the action, Hamlin surprised the players when he channeled Steph Curry and effortlessly pulled up for a shot just beyond half-court and and drained it.
Surprises reporter with admission about his game
After the game with Jones and Co., a reporter asked Hamlin about the shot and suggested if he might consider adopting the nickname “Denny Dimes.” Hamlin politely corrected the reporter and admitted he’s a more selfish player.
“Dimes means that I pass it to somebody and I don’t pass it very much,” Hamlin told CBS. “Listen, I always say you’ve got to be confident. When you pull up from the logo, you better be confident. That is my shot, believe it or not. It’s not like just a hope and a prayer. I probably have a better percentage from there than I do the free throw line to be honest with you.”
Hamlin and Jordan have a lot more in common than most people think. Surprisingly, in basketball, the one thing they don’t have in common is shooting range. Hamlin is much better than Jordan ever was.