For anyone who doesn’t keep up with general sports news, LeBron James has recently purchased an undisclosed amount of Fenway Sports Group. This is the group of investors who own the Boston Red Sox of the MLB, Liverpool F.C. of the Premier League, and lastly Roush Fenway Racing which competes in NASCAR.
Obviously, the biggest thing on LeBron’s mind was getting his foot in the door of an MLB team, I have no doubt of that. What is going to get overlooked is the coincidence that LeBron now owns a stake in a NASCAR team in the same year that his predecessor to the GOAT moniker Michael Jordan started his own team.
While LeBron James has made it clear that “catching” Michael Jordan is not his life’s ambition, he has looked to him as an inspiration in his basketball and business career. Michael Jordan has many business ventures in his portfolio including owning a NASCAR team and the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA. That’s not counting many other non-sporting ventures.
They don’t have a rivalry or feud in the traditional sense of the word, but there is certainly this tension between them when either is mentioned to the other. I think that the game of basketball has linked their fates together on and off the court. When one does something, the other is debated as to whether they’d be able to do the same thing.
LeBron James now holds a stake in Roush Fenway Racing, and while this might be an afterthought for him, it also might be part of a long-term plan. Even if he doesn’t realize it now, that team has a rich history and the potential to reach championship-level contention again. LeBron could be a big part of revitalizing that team, even if he just brought his involvement to the table. Bringing in sponsors would be easy for him; sponsors bring in money and money makes faster race cars.
An incredibly small detail that is overlooked in all this is that Roush Fenway Racing owns the number 6, the only other number besides 23 that LeBron has ever been known for. If Jordan has the #23 then LeBron could now have his #6 car, this would add fuel to the fire in terms of the great debate between these two.
More importantly, LeBron sees the changes happening and that is still ongoing in NASCAR. He has been the biggest icon in social justice for athletes not just in this generation, but in history and he has a chance to come in and continue what Michael Jordan and Bubba Wallace started. The opportunity to keep diversity evolving in NASCAR will appeal to him.
Last season when Bubba Wallace and Richard Petty debuted their #blacklivesmatter car, LeBron James was very vocal in his support and all that NASCAR was doing in support of African American’s who want to come an enjoy the great sport of stock car racing. So, NASCAR is definitely on his mind, and I believe that ownership is as well, to what capacity I have no idea.
Maybe this is already on his mind and was a part of what brought him to Fenway Sports Group, but even if it wasn’t I think it will be in the future. He has his name on the ownership bill of the team, all it will take is for inspiration to strike. Maybe that inspiration will come from watching 23XI Racing and Bubba Wallace continue to grow. Maybe his inspiration will be seeing another up-and-coming African American driver like Rajah Caruth look for his chance in the sport, and being the owner that gives him that shot.