Brad Daugherty, who was an all-American basketball player at North Carolina and a five-time NBA All-Star, had a love for more than just basketball growing up. His other lifelong passion was racing.
Today, Daugherty is co-owner of JTG Daugherty Racing along with Tad and Jodi Geschickter. Last year was his first full season as a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team co-owner. During that time, Daugherty coached Marcos Ambrose as he showcased his talent with strong performances including his runner-up finish at Watkins Glen International and a third-place finish at Infineon Raceway. Daugherty was obviously impressed with the road course finishes, but he was also pleased with the top-five finishes Ambrose earned at places like Bristol Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. The No. 47 team went on to finish 18th overall in the championship standings.
Daugherty developed a passion for racing while growing up in Black Mountain, N.C. His father and uncles built hot rods and drag racers and raced them locally. Daugherty and his family seemed to always to be working on cars. In 1977 at age 12, Daugherty visited Daytona International Speedway. It was a day he would never forget that fueled his desire to make a name for himself in racing.
Fast forward to the summer of 1985, where Daugherty met longtime friend Robert Pressley at New Asheville Speedway. Daugherty completed his basketball career at the University of North Carolina and was the NBA first overall draft pick in 1986. Pressley had an interest in the game of basketball and Daugherty had a deep interest in racing. It was the beginning of a strong friendship and partnership as Daugherty co-founded a Late Model race team with Pressley. Daugherty’s race team competed in the NASCAR Winston Racing Series, Mid-Atlantic Region, winning the regional championship in 1987 and 1988 with Pressley behind the wheel. Next, Daugherty wanted to try his hand on another level and the next year he advanced his organization to the NASCAR Nationwide Series. On August 12, 1989, at Orange County Speedway in Rougemont, N.C., Pressley delivered Daugherty’s first NASCAR Nationwide Series victory as a team owner. In addition, Pressley posted one top-five and three top-10s in 19 starts that season. Daugherty also co-owned a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team (Liberty Racing) featuring such drivers as Kevin Harvick and the late Kenny Irwin Jr. In 1997, Irwin won two races (Homestead-Miami Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway).
Not only has Daugherty had his fair share of success in NASCAR, but he made his mark in basketball and was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in May 2001. Daugherty played eight seasons in the NBA for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The seven-foot center averaged 19 points and 9.5 rebounds a game in his career. His No. 43 jersey was retired by the Cavs in 1997.
Daugherty’s basketball career took off after joining the Tar Heels as a 16-year-old freshman. He was a two-time All-ACC player and a first-team All-America in his senior year, when he averaged 20.2 points and 9 rebounds per game.
Daugherty is not only known for his basketball and racing careers, but he is widely known for his work with ABC and ESPN. From 1999 through 2001, he served as a college basketball sideline reporter and analyst covering the ACC telecasts. Before coming to ESPN, Daugherty served as a game analyst for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers from 1996-1998 on the Hometown 43/Cavaliers Television Network. In that time, he also worked as an analyst for the San Antonio Spurs.
After calling college hoops, Daugherty was interested in trying his hand covering NASCAR. He was a familiar face in the garage with an extensive background in racing. Being the world’s biggest racing fan and having a good relationship with ESPN, it made sense. Today, Daugherty continues his work as an analyst for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series and is a regular on other ESPN programs.