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Formula 1 Miami GP

Gasly: Meeting Michael Jordan the “best experience of my life”

Pierre Gasly says meeting basketball legend Michael Jordan this week ahead of the Miami Grand Prix was “by far the best experience of my life”.

Pierre Gasly, Scuderia AlphaTauri

AlphaTauri’s Gasly – who won the 2020 Italian Grand Prix – enjoyed a three-hour dinner with former NBA star Jordan, who won six championships with the Chicago Bulls during his stellar 15-year professional career. Along with his sporting success, Jordan became a cultural icon and this was fuelled by the success of Nike’s Air Jordan range of sneakers.

One of Gasly’s personal sponsors, who is a friend of Jordan’s, organised their meeting on Wednesday, ahead of the inaugural Miami Grand Prix at the Hard Rock Stadium this weekend. 

 

“It was by far the best experience of my life,” said Gasly on Thursday. “The most inspiring dinner I’ve ever had. Since a kid I’ve always been inspired by this guy, his mentality and the success he’s had in these years.

“Everyone says you should never meet your idol, because you can only be disappointed, but this was the complete opposite. The guy is just a genius, in another league, the way he is thinking intellectually. I was very, very impressed. 

“I didn’t know he was a massive F1 fan. He almost knows the sport better than I do! It was very impressive, and great to discuss it with such a legend. It was a great dinner, I’ll remember it all my life.” 

Gasly gave Jordan one of his crash helmets, and in exchange got the legend to sign his Air Jordans. 

“I gave him one of my helmets, he signed one of my Jordans – so that’s going in my safe at home, my trophy cabinet!” laughed Gasly. “Exchanging with such a champion, you always learn so much about these guys and how they approach sports, success and failures.

“It’s all about how you maintain this level of performances, I don’t think there was anyone else in the world that I’d like to have met more than him.” 

Michael Jordan, NBA Hall of Famer and co-owner of 23XI Racing

Michael Jordan, NBA Hall of Famer and co-owner of 23XI Racing

Photo by: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

Jordan entered the world of NASCAR team ownership last year, starting 23XI Racing along with Cup star Denny Hamlin. His Toyota outfit now runs Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch in the series, and was a topic of discussion during dinner with Gasly. 

“Of course we talked about that, we talked about a lot of things,” Gasly added. “We spent three hours together – we talked NASCAR, motorsport… I didn’t know he woke up early on Sunday mornings to watch our F1 races. He’s a huge fan.

“But it’s not easy if you’re Michael Jordan to show up at events like this, even if you’d like to. Even if we don’t see him [at the track] he follows us. I was quite amazed about how much details he knew about our sport. It shows he has a massive interest for motorsports.” 

When asked if he might get to drive his NASCAR, Gasly replied: “It might happen, it might happen. 

“We’re probably going to meet up some other time. We made a great connection over dinner. He’s a very special person, and we’ll see how the relationship grows from there. I got another invite, when I’ll be back in the U.S., so I’ll clearly take it.” 

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