Michael Jordan watching the action on pit road during qualifying for 2022 Ally 400 at Nashville SuperSpeedway ; Denny Hamlin laughs on the grid during practice for the 2023 Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images ; Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Michael Jordan Once Tried a NASCAR Simulator and "Didn't Last Long," Says Denny Hamlin


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Michael Jordan is clearly loving his newfound sports home in the wild and crazy world of NASCAR. But, one place you will never catch the NBA legend, at least according to Denny Hamlin, his longtime friend and fellow co-owner of 23XI Racing, is behind the wheel of a race car.

On a recent episode of his podcast Actions Detrimental, Hamlin recalled the time that MJ tried his luck in a legitimate NASCAR simulator at Toyota Racing Development. As the Joe Gibbs Racing driver tells it (you can check out the full rundown here at around the 46:30 mark), it didn't go too well.

"Never again," Hamlin said. "He did it once, but it was the simulator at TRD. That content has not been released, nor will it probably ever be released because good luck trying to get them to approve it. But, he wanted to feel what we feel, and so Toyota set it up and our team set it up for him to get in the Toyota simulator. This was a couple years ago."

"He's like, 'I don't want Daytona. It's just hold her wide open. That's too easy. Like, give me something, what's the next step.' I'm like, 'Alright, let's go to Charlotte.' I probably could have picked Las Vegas or something or Michigan, probably should have done that, but he didn't last long. I mean, he did okay, he had a problem holding the car down on the bottom of the track. And then it was probably 15 minutes and he says, 'I'm done.'"

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To be fair to "His Airness," standing at 6'6" and pushing 220 pounds, he's not exactly the ideal build for a NASCAR driver. After all, the average racer stands between 5'9", 5'10" and typically weighs anywhere between 150 and 175 pounds, depending on where you get your numbers from. So, with that in mind, Hamlin admitted that conditions weren't entirely ideal for Jordan during his first, and probably last, experience behind the wheel.

"It was very hot," Hamlin went on. "You would not believe how they had to modify it, like the back seat is out of the simulator to fit his legs in the pedals. He put the helmet on and he's just like, 'Man, I just my eyes, I got so dizzy. Like I just started feeling queasy.' So he had to quit."

So, driving for Jordan is a no, but what about going for a ride-along? Well, he'd probably pass on that, too. At least with Hamlin behind the wheel.

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"Probably not," Hamlin said. "I don't think so. He wouldn't trust me. He wouldn't trust me to do it. He knows I'd tried to scare him. If I get into a two-seater race car, and you are the passenger, the only fun and enjoyment I have is to see you s*** your pants. I'm gonna run right up against the wall. If I hit it, eh, that's fine.

"Listen, I haven't crashed a two-seater car, but I try to run right up against the wall to give the people the feeling of like, 'This is how close we can run and not hit it. I mean, that's part of the skill set of what we bring to the table, so..."

I'd say that pretty much settles it then. Michael Jordan is a lot of things, but a race car driver is not one of them.

MORE: Brad Daugherty Sets the Record Straight on His Rumored NASCAR Beef With Michael Jordan

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