Interview: Odell Beckham Jr on the Importance of Sport, Reaching his Potential and his New Nike Air Max 720 – Complex

Whether it’s physics-defying catches, signature celebrations or headline-making drip, there is no other player in American Football that radiates the title of “international superstar” like Odell Beckham Jr.

That much is clear upon his arrival to the new NFL Academy in Wood Green, Tottenham. Try-outs are taking place for the next generation of young hopefuls trying to make their own name in the sport. But once OBJ steps in the vicinity, training halts immediately and the entire venue gravitates towards him. Hundreds of kids all form a crowd around OBJ, who can’t quite believe what they’re seeing. In response, OBJ proceeds to send the commotion around him to another level by deciding to take a selfie with the kids, who instantly create a crazed mosh pit around him while jumping about to try and get in the shot.

When practice resumes, the kids’ work rate has gone up ten fold, with the 16-18 year olds sprinting about absolutely desperate to impress the 26-year-old from Baton Rouge. Watching on with a smile, it’s clear that OBJ remembers being desperate to make the cut himself growing up. Offering words of wisdom to the prospects taking part, OBJ is evidently at home in these settings – so much so that he’s already nailed down a cockney accent with his pronunciation of “Tottenham”.

Along with helping to promote the NFL Academy, OBJ has just allowed fans to get their hands of his new Nike Air Max 720 signature model – “the first of many” shoes in the pipeline with Nike according to the man himself. The silhouette mirrors OBJ’s own personality, and he’s clearly excited about the prospect of being able to showcase even more of what he’s about in the next chapter in his career. OBJ will head to his new home in Cleveland after his high-profile move from the New York Giants to the Browns, where he’ll be looking to reach his full potential and live out his dream of playing in a new environment alongside his “brother” Jarvis Landry, after years of frustration with injury and off-field politics.

With all this on his plate, there’s a lot to unpack with the 26-year-old. COMPLEX got the opportunity to do so while following his experience on his recent London leg of his European tour, where we talked with OBJ about his new sneaker, his excitement ahead of the new season in Cleveland and his role in inspiring the next generation of sports stars around the globe.

Watch Odell Beckham Jr’s weekend in London here, and to find out more about what’s happening in London go to nike.com/London.