“As Soon as He Stopped, Basketball Was Dead to Me”: Daniel Ricciardo on His Non Racing Hero


Daniel Ricciardo is arguably the most lovable and popular drivers on the grid. The Australian driver tickles the funny bones of his peers, fans, and even the stern engineers. In an individual sport with cut-throat competition, his positive approach to life is refreshing. The inspirational driver also counts on a few idols that have motivated him in his life.

‘MJ or nothing’ for young Daniel

The Australian driver idol-worshipped the great Michael Jordan. And how could one not? He is arguably two of the greatest players to play the game of basketball. Not only was he the most famous athlete of the 90s but also one of the most well-known celebrities. His notorious competitive drive led the Chicago Bulls to 6 NBA championships. Daniel began playing the sport as a toddler because of him. And strangely enough, he left the sport because of him too. Speaking of his admiration for MJ, he said

NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan
Michael Johnson #23, shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls prepares to make a shot during a Central Division game in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) 1988 – 1989 season at Chicago Stadium, Chicago, United States. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Allsport/Getty Images)

“As a kid, before I had racing pictures in my bedroom, I had Michael Jordan. It was funny; it was him or nothing. When he was playing, then I was playing basketball in the backyard, and as soon as he stopped, basketball was dead to me. It was crazy how much he drew me towards it.”

Racing Idols of Daniel Ricciardo

The Perth-native was drawn to racing from a young age. NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt inspired him to take the ‘Number 3’ on his Formula 1 car. On being asked about his motor-racing heroes, he said – “Ayrton Senna and Dale Earnhardt are the two that stand out. And also Valentino Rossi; I’m being greedy, but those three!”

Motorsports stuntman Travis Pastrana is also one of his idols. The daredevil’s crazy nature is probably what resonated with the Renault driver, “He’s still kind of racer, but I loved Travis Pastrana growing up. I loved what he stands for; he’s nuts.”

Dale Earnhardt
Dale Earnhardt, driver of the the #3 Richard Childress Racing Goodwrench Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Monte Carlo spinning out of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series The Winston race on 24 May 1998 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, North Carolina, United States. (Photo by Craig Jones/Allsport/Getty Images)

So, the ‘honey-badger’ has laid it all out in the open. His fans now know what inspired him throughout his childhood. Breathtaking overtakes and charismatic persona will earn the former Red Bull driver a few ‘Stans’ himself. Who knows maybe we will be mentioning Daniel as an idol for future Formula 1


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