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The fame game: How Odell Beckham Jr. crashed the QB club

Postby Angel92 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:06 am

The stars were out at the 2015 NBA All-Star Game. Jay-Z, Beyonce, Bill Clinton, Ben Stiller and Bill Russell all roamed courtside at Madison Square Garden. And beside them -- looking like he belonged -- stood New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
If one moment solidified Beckham’s status as a household name, it was Clinton asking the wideout for a picture -- according to Beckham’s friend and current Giants punter Brad Wing. A former president of the United States asked for a photo with a 22-year-old NFL player. It’s not your everyday interaction, even for a wide receiver who stars for one of the league’s flagship teams in the nation’s biggest market.
Beckham had just finished his second NFL season and had already reached A-list celebrity status. That doesn’t happen too often in a sport where the athletes' faces are hidden by helmets. Most football players are recognized by the name on the back of their jersey rather than by their jaw structure or golden locks.
Beckham’s fame has reached unprecedented status in record time, in part because of a legendary catch and freshness that was off the charts.
Consider the 2015 All-Star Game. NBA players, including LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, flocked in Beckham’s direction. They exchanged hugs and handshakes, and Westbrook even came with a high-five.
Beckham isn’t Tom Brady, the highest-ranked NFL player on ESPN’s World Fame 100. Brady was No. 21 on the list. Other quarterbacks -- Cam Newton, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Eli Manning -- are ranked higher than Beckham, as well. But Beckham, ranked No. 64, is the most famous non-quarterback NFL player on the list.
On the strength of his bright blond fauxhawk, Beckham is making $10-plus million in endorsements annually. He also enjoys a robust social media following on Instagram (8.6 million followers), Twitter (2.5 million) and Facebook (1.4 million). Beckham was the NFL’s top player on social media over the last calendar year, according to MVPindex, a social media intelligence platform that analyzes athletes’ social media portfolios and calculates their digital brand value. Beckham’s social media footprint came in at a whopping $82 million from July 2016 to July 2017. He blew away the competition. Brady was second with a social footprint worth $44.9 million.
"Odell Beckham Jr. had a record-setting year on social last season because he was able to create unique, branded content that gave fans an inside look into his colorful personality, life and style -- both on and off the field," said Kyle Nelson, co-founder and CMO of MVPindex. "He's been able to cash in on his personal brand and connect with fans, not to mention generating real value for his corporate partners."
Beckham has endorsement deals with Nike, Head & Shoulders, Dunkin' Donuts and Steiner Sports, among others.
And, Beckham is only 24 years old. Consider, when Brady celebrated his 24th birthday, he was still a scrawny backup to Drew Bledsoe. At 24, Rodgers had never started a game, Brees was struggling in San Diego, Manning was entering his first full season as a starter, and Newton was far from a household name with nary a dab to his name.
Beckham was also recently ranked No. 1 on the Charge 25 Under 25 Index. The index measures the strength of athletes’ brands Brandon Finnegan Womens Jersey while under the age of 25, based on social media following and engagement, search results and news stories. Beckham also ranked fifth on the NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales List for the 2016 season.
“He’s a rock star,” said new teammate Brandon Marshall, who has crossed paths and communicated with Beckham for several years. “There is no one else in the NFL like him. We’ve never seen this before.”
Beckham announced himself to the world with a one-handed touchdown catch in a Sunday night loss against the Dallas Cowboys. When the ball stuck to his fingertips that November night, it propelled the rookie from a promising player to a different stratosphere.
The day after that one-handed catch, Beckham was scheduled to do a signing at Roosevelt Field Mall in Long Island. Hundreds of fans packed the mall’s lower level, forcing New York’s newest star to be shuffled by security through the bowels of the building with cameras for outlets like TMZ (as well as reporters and fans) stalking his every move.
This was Beckham’s new reality. He wasn’t just a successful first-round pick. Suddenly, he was getting texts from Michael Jordan and eating dinner with LeBron James. Everybody wanted a piece of the hot new star.
At the Super Bowl after his rookie season, Beckham told a story about going to the mall in Arizona. A few children started following him, then a few more. Soon there were 20 or 30 kids trailing him.
“It’s Odell. He can’t go out in public. It’s that crazy,” Giants safety Landon Collins said. “You can’t walk around with him. It’s hectic.”
It’s like that in New York, New Jersey or California. And it’s no different in London or Germany. When Beckham was in Europe promoting the Giants-Rams game, hundreds lined the Munich streets and chanted “OBJ, OBJ, OBJ.” Beckham played to his fans, climbing on the roof of a car to help them get a better look.
It was a similar scene in London last season before the game against the Rams. Fans quickly converged on a downtown Nike store when they heard Beckham, Victor Cruz and a few other Giants were making an appearance. Pandemonium ensued as the throng strove to get a glimpse of one of the sporting world’s biggest stars.
Kids want to be like him and get near Kurt Coleman Youth Jersey him. It’s no accident that Nike recently awarded Beckham the largest-ever shoe deal for an NFL player ($5.8 million a year) as younger players try to replicate his look.
“I don’t want to say I didn’t expect to be where I’m at today, but I didn’t expect kids to be dying their hair blond,” Beckham said at his football camp last month. “I have all kinds of parents telling me, ‘My kid dyed his hair blond because of you.’ I didn’t mean for all that stuff to happen.”
Cruz, now with the Chicago Bears, said his nephew, a big Beckham fan, dyed his hair blond. The do has a life of its own.
“The blond hair takes it to another level,” Cruz said.
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