Young Stars Like Alvin Kamara And Tyler Lockett Are Working To Insert Individualism Into The NFL

Managing Editor, Sports + DIME

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MINNEAPOLIS – Alvin Kamara is doing arts and crafts. More specifically, he’s sorting through a variety of words, numbers, and phrases spread out on a gigantic table in search of the ones he wants. It’s fridge magnet poetry for the millennial age, as within moments he’ll be able to hand them over, get them pressed onto a shirt and walk away. During the craziness of Super Bowl week, where everyone wants something, and anyone who doesn’t want anything simply wants to talk to the Rookie Of The Year or snap a picture, Kamara is a star.

And his team isn’t even one of the two playing in the Super Bowl.

That Kamara’s rise was this big – this quickly – is a success story on its own. But that he’s leveraging his play on the field from the get-go to look toward the future, that players are starting to recognize that their time on the field is shorter than their time off it, that’s where the pivot starts. Players now aren’t just saying a tagline, wearing a logo, and collecting their checks. Instead, they’re leveraging those relationships to start conversations about investments, future careers, and opportunities outside the number or team name on the back of their jerseys.

This isn’t a novel concept in and of itself, sure, but what is different is the variety and audacity with which players are taking ownership of themselves. Not a year out of playing college football, where earning potential and your own likeness aren’t even yours, Kamara is thinking big. Not the restaurants or car dealerships of old, but beyond that.

And companies like adidas are more than happy to see Kamara and players like him catapult to greatness. The way adidas sees it, the bigger those players get, the stronger the relationship. The formula is simple: give them the keys and a way to amplify their individuality, and stay out of the way. Those players felt at home throughout the weekend, snacking on food, playing FIFA, getting a look at the new SPEEDFACTORY cleats, chatting it up with other players (or being star-struck by guys like Snoop Dogg, Pharrell, or Jamie Foxx), and yes, even participating in arts and crafts.

UPROXX had the chance to speak with Kamara, Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett, and Giants safety Landon Collins about the week, their goals on and off the field, and what creation means to them.

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