The 52-year-old and North Carolina native starred at UNC, becoming an All-American for the Tar Heels, and was selected with he No. 1 overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He is just one of seven players in Cleveland Cavaliers history to have his jersey (No. 43) retired.
Unfortunately, at just 28 years old and entering the prime of his career, Daugherty’s career was cut short due to a herniated lumbar disc in his back. He averaged more than 20 points per game in each of the three seasons prior to his injury.
However, its Daugherty’s post-NBA career that has him known today. Along with his current deal with ESPN as a college basketball and NASCAR analyst, Daugherty is the co-owner of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series team JTG Daugherty Racing. That’s right, the former NBA star turned NASCAR team owner has ventured into territory foreign to many African Americans.
In a sport that admittedly has less than 10% of an African-American fan base, Daugherty has helped blaze trails for minorities. However, he’s still fighting an uphill battle.
An issue that arose with NASCAR and its fans involved the flying of the Confederate flag at its races, a problem Daugherty hasn’t taken lightly.
“I will tell you, being an African-American man going to the racetrack and seeing the Confederate flag…it does make my skin crawl,” he said in an interview. “It 100 percent represents hate.’’
Daugherty and NASCAR are still working to diversify the sport, which only has one full-time African American driver. In 2004, NASCAR implemented “Drive for Diversity,” a program made to attract women and minorities to the sport, thanks in large part to the influence of Daugherty.
So far, the program’s impact and efforts have been minimal, but Daugherty notes that there is some progress, claiming that it is definitely more inviting than in the past.
As one of the best players in Cavs franchise history, a solid analyst and owner, Brad Daugherty has been class act all along the way. Happy Birthday #43!