How NASCAR suddenly got a super serious pickup basketball league – For The Win
When NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin built his new house in Charlotte, North Carolina, he made sure it included a basketball court.
But he had no idea just how serious the basketball played on his court would get until he started a league a couple months ago with several other people from the racing world, known on Twitter as THE HOOP GROUP.
Now in their second season, this league is super serious – like drafts and custom apparel serious.
“Everyone likes to come over and play,” Hamlin told For The Win about the first season. “It’s a good way for us to exercise, so we made it a little more formal. We had five teams and we drafted and made it official and got jerseys and everything.”
The league quickly picked up steam, and it includes several drivers, broadcasters from FOX and NBC and people from the Joe Gibbs Racing garage, Hamlin said. Along with Hamlin, other drivers include Kasey Kahne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ryan Blaney, Austin Dillon, Bubba Wallace and the newly retired Michael Waltrip, according to the league’s Twitter account.
This week before everyone headed west for Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway – the third race of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – THE HOOP GROUP had its draft and live streamed it on Periscope with the season kicking off on April 5th.
“It’s not always great basketball, but it’s fun for us,” Hamlin said.
Here’s a look at the five teams: The Stock Car Steelers, the Wise Men, Team Walnuts, Team Shockers and Team GFY.