The Air Jordan 3 “Black Cement” is one of its most beloved sneakers of all-time, and now its color scheme is heading to NASCAR. 23XI Racing, founded by Michael Jordan and Daytona 500 champion Denny Hamlin in 2020, is partnering with the sneaker giant to sponsor Kurt Busch’s No. 45 car during the 2022 season.
Kicks to pavement — The partnership means Jordan Brand will design the team’s car, shoes, and uniforms. A black wrap coats the car’s exterior and pairs it with the crackled elephant print motif of from the Air Jordan 3. Other sponsor logos are sprinkled all along the body, but the Jumpman is stamped on the hood in red to match the “45” on the roof and door.
Kurt Busch will also join Bubba Wallace as a Jordan Brand athlete for 23XI Racing and will sport a new and improved uniform. His firesuit will be branded with the Jumpman logo on the shoulders and belt, and the helmet will take after the aforementioned color scheme with the same elephant print. Jordan Brand has branched from basketball into other sports including golf and soccer, and with its recent foray into NASCAR, it could create a new generation of motorsport enthusiasts.
The bridge between car culture and fashion isn’t exactly a novelty, and streetwear has been working with the automotive industry a lot lately. Sneaker designer Sean Wotherspoon dressed a Porsche with his famous color-blocking, and Jeff Koons brought his fun cartoon imprints to a BMW. 23XI Racing released apparel in 2020 when the company first came into fruition, and the capsule promptly sold out five minutes later — signaling that fans are more than willing to support the venture.
On May 15, the car will hit the track for the first time for Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway. Wallace and Busch sport the No. 23 and No. 45 cars, nodding to two of Jordan’s jersey numbers from his basketball career. (Don’t forget he once wore No. 12.) If the pressure to win the Cup wasn’t there before, the competitive spirit of MJ might ramp it up a notch.