Meeting nba superstar Michael Jordan this week before the Miami Grand Prix, according to Pierre Gasly, was “by far the greatest moment of my life.”
Gasly, who claimed the 2020 Italian Grand Prix, had a three-hour meal with Jordan, who earned six titles with the Chicago Bulls over the course of his spectacular 15-year professional field. Jordan became a global figure as a result of his athletic prowess, which was fueled by the breakthrough of Nike’s Air Jordan line of footwear.
Their encounter was arranged on Wednesday by another one of Gasly’s individual sponsors, who’s now a buddy of Jordan’s, before the first 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.”
In exchange for signing his Air Jordans, Gasly offered Jordan one of his crash helmets.
“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.”
Jordan started 23XI Racing alongside Cup champion Denny Hamlin last year. His Toyota team now fields Bubba Wallace and Kurt Busch in the championship, which was discussed over meals 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.”
“It might happen, it might happen,” Gasly said when questioned if he’ll get to race his NASCAR.
“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.”
F1, F1 2022, Formula 1, Pierre Gasly, Grand Prix, Michael Jordan, AlphaTauri