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Odell Beckham Jr. is the LeBron James of the NFL

First off, if you do not feel like reading why Odell Beckham Jr. is the LeBron James of the NFL, listen to this mini episode (8 Minutes) of the SBNY Podcast below!

Or, if you like to read or want to read along, I am going to break it down for you here.

Odell Beckham Jr. is becoming a larger than sport figure. He transcends the Wide Receiver position, the New York Football Giants, and soon, if not already, will transcend the NFL. Now of course his extraordinary Receiver skills put him in the spotlight, playing for the New York Giants helped keep him in the spotlight, and the NFL is the most popular sport in America; but with all that being said, Beckham Jr. is a star beyond all of it. He is truly a celebrity in a sport where quarterbacks nowadays typically own the spotlight.

Odell Beckham Jr. wasn’t deemed King before ever playing a professional game like LeBron James, but after just one season and one spectacular play, the hype was real and deserved. The thought behind this theory though, comes beyond what Odell did on the field in his first two or three years or what LeBron did during his first stint on the Cavaliers, its what they accomplish as pioneering athletes, businessmen, and celebrities that brings all the similarities.

We know LeBron’s story but lets quickly think about what LeBron has accomplished off the court. He first empowered himself by leaving his “hometown” team in Cleveland and joining the Miami Heat. That is already after giant Nike deals, plenty of sponsors, and all the celebrity that comes along with it. LeBron James has his hand in Hollywood, his best friend and agent Rich Paul represents numerous high-profile athletes, and even owns a food chain now worth millions of dollars. LeBron James empowered other athletes to go out and get all those sponsors, invest their money in smart business, and go against rich owners to play where they want to play and play with who they want to play with.

So now lets get to Odell Beckham Jr. for a minute. In just four years, his celebrity has grown to a remarkable place. But I have to be honest, not all for the best reasons. Love or hate LeBron, other then “The Decision” and minor pettiness, he mostly does things the right way and with respect. Odell ran into other, more egotistical dilemmas.

It is important to note that to stay fair but, for now, lets put that aside, because despite all of the negative he has become a Hollywood celebrity, a sports superstar, and social influencer.

Odell Beckham Jr. just signed the BIGGEST SHOE DEAL in NFL history. A guy entering his fourth season, on his rookie contract, just signed “the richest shoe deal for an NFL player and about two times more than any previous deal Nike had with a football player.” – via ESPN

There are two more important facts from this story highlighted by the ESPN article linked above. First, “The deal will make Beckham a larger brand spokesman for Nike, including campaigns outside of football.” said Darren Rovell, which proves my point of Odell becoming a larger than sport figure. Odell is looked at as a trendsetter or a fashion icon. He has the ability to play an influencer role in not just fashion, but music, dancing, brands, and more. (I can literally imagine NBA players wearing signature OBJ Basketball sneakers)

Lastly (and I wish I read this prior to my mini pod above), Odell Beckham Jr. is set to make $1,839,027 next season from the Giants, and therefore will be making more than double from Nike then he will from his team. “Other athletes who made more from Nike than from the team they play for this season include LeBron James and Kevin Durant”

Hmmm, sounds kinda like a guy who is pioneering his way to inspire a generation of athletes to think for themselves and make sure they get theirs. Odell Beckham Jr. is doing things his way and doesn’t want to be told otherwise.

Still don’t see the connection? Lets talk about what Odell has done regarding OTA’s and said about his next contract.

During OTA’s the typical story lines include a few things; Rookies, injuries, and stars holding out for a better contract. Odell didn’t fit any of those molds but did not show up to OTA’s and was a leading story line across all of sports. He skipped “voluntary” workouts to do his own thing in LA with Hall of Famer Chris Carter and workout like a “madman”.

Things like this remind me when LeBron is rumored to not want to stay in the team hotel because he wants to stay at his buddy Chris Paul’s house while in LA or doesn’t want to travel with the team to get an extra day at home. LeBron and Odell don’t want to be told how to do things, and it doesn’t seem there are many forces to stop them.

Now regarding Odell Beckham Jr.’s looming new contract, he wants to change the way NFL players are paid. “I believe that I will be hopefully not just the highest-paid receiver in the league, but the highest paid, period.” – said Beckham Jr.

He set his goals in the sky and intends to reach them. LeBron was never shy to make his stands and #striveforgreatness. Now LeBron literally did this through working with the NBA Players Association but his and Odell’s goals were similar. Give the players power and what they deserve. Odell made that clear recently in his Uninterrupted video highlighted in this article:

“You want to change the game,” Beckham said. “You watch people in the NBA, and it’s crazy what they get. There are people in the NFL who deserve that. I just want to be at the forefront, help push the league, the game that way, because I feel like the players deserve it.”

P.S. Thankfully for Giants fans, John Mara has said “He deserves to get paid… We’re going to pay him.”

But Idk, maybe its just me, but these two have a style and sense of the spotlight that are eerily similar at times.

Lastly, watch this Minute and a Half video of Justin Pugh, OL for New York Giants, speak about Odell and what he is like as a person, teammate, and player. His fame is beyond the sport yet works to win as hard as anyone.

Odell Beckham Jr. may be immature at times or seemingly egotistical, but I remember similar things being said about LeBron at times in his career. These two pioneering athletes are polarizing and not loved by everyone. But, you can’t deny the greatness and vision behind the two most famous people in their respective sports.

OBJ is pulling off what so many other NFL players wish they could. And whether you accept Odell for the impact he truly has or you call him a cry-baby-drama-queen, it will not stop him from doing him and dancing his way to the bank and in the end zone.

LeBron James has already changed the game in the NBA, and Odell Beckham Jr. is well on his way to doing the same in the NFL.

About Pete Kennedy

Managing Editor, Writer, and Sports Blog New York Podcast Host and Producer.

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