Allen Lessels on Motor Sports: Daugherty's fast break to NASCAR
No coin flip was required when Daugherty got to the National Basketball Association as a center and the No. 1 pick out of North Carolina in 1986.
It turned out better than good.
He wore the No. 43 proudly through five All Star seasons and a highly productive career shortened by back problems and that, in the end, was how a number honoring NASCAR legend Richard Petty came to be retired by the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers.
"If you're going to win a championship, you have to beat them," he said. "Period."
Daugherty wants to move up.
"We're realistic about our expectations," he said. "We just don't think we're living up to expectations."
He and longtime buddy and driver Robert Pressley put together a late model team in 1987 and later moved it up to the Nationwide Series.
"We sent Larry packing," he said with a laugh.
He and the Cavaliers closed out Bird's season and career in the Eastern Conference semifinals in 1992.
That catches some people off guard, he said.
"When you do something and have some notoriety with it, a lot of people want to put you in a little box and if you do something outside that box, it's a problem," he said. "I find it pretty funny. I'm an NBA All Star and in NASCAR and sometimes people say, 'What in the world are you doing?' But I love racing. I grew up racing."
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