Daily Sports Smile: Formula 1 drivers hit NBA hardwood for charity fundraiser

CORRECTS BY SWITCHING POSITIONS OF DRIVERS - Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, left, of Monaco and Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, right, of Spain, celebrate after both making basketball shots at the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Austin, Texas. F1 Teams took part in a free throw challenge to help the NBA celebrate its 75th anniversary. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Jaylon Thompson
USA TODAY Sports Plus

The NBA is celebrating its 75th anniversary in style. The league has already began rolling out its greatest 75 players of all-time. Now, the NBA is joining forces with Formula 1 for an epic partnership to raise money for charity.

This week, Formula 1 is returning to the United States for the first time in two years. The annual Formula 1 United States Grand Prix was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix begins Sunday on ABC. Live coverage begins at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Prior to the long-awaited race, F1 drivers hit the hardwood for a free-throw challenge. The drivers competed for $20,000 to their favorite charity.

Their mission was simple: make the most free-throws out of 10 chances.

Ferrari drivers Carlos Sainz, front, of Spain, and Charles Leclerc, of Monaco, shoot free throws at the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at the Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Austin, Texas. F1 teams took part in a free-throw challenge  to help the NBA celebrate its 75th anniversary. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

F1 reporter Adam Cooper was on the scene. 

He shared on Twitter that Aston Martin team boss Otmar Szafnauer took some shots on the NBA 75th anniversary court. Cooper also provided highlights from the challenge. 

Pro Basketball Hall of Famers Chris Bosh and Dikembe Mutombo helped provide shooting tips during the contest. The free-throw challenge was the first of several "paddock games."

Other activities included Jenga and naming all 50 USA states on a blank map.

CORRECTS BY SWITCHING POSITIONS OF DRIVERS - Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, second from left, of Spain, and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, right, of Monaco, talk before taking free throw-attempts as former NBA players Chris Bosh, left, and Dikembe Mutombo, second from right, listen at the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at Circuit of the Americas, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, in Austin, Texas. F1 Teams took part in a free throw challenge to help the NBA celebrate its 75th anniversary. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The partnership also brought out Hollywood stars. Several celebrities were on hand to take in the experience.

Actor Matthew McConaughey joined the festivities as legendary Olympian Usain Bolt posed with Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton, whose seven career world championships are more than any driver in history, occupied second place in standings heading into the weekend. He trailed Max Verstappen by just six points, which is equal to the point-yield difference of finishing in second and fifth place in a single race.

This week, the NBA released custom liveries featuring all 30 NBA teams. Each car featured team logos and branding that appealed to all audiences. 

The photos were shared on the official NBA and F1 social media accounts. Fans can catch all the F1 action Sunday. The 2021 United States Grand Prix is the first of three races scheduled stateside in the next two years.