The running back for the Detroit Lions, Jamaal Williams, has captured the hearts of the internet after showcasing his love for Naruto and Pokemon during his recent football games.
Despite not making it into the playoffs, Jamaal Williams has been a favored player in the NFL as of late due to his heartwarming antics. At the start of 2023, Williams found his name circulating internet subcultures after showcasing his interests on live television.
A clip of a post-game interview of the running back went viral following a decisive victory over the Bears on January 1. Williams – wearing a Naruto headband and jacket – was asked a question he didn’t seem to care for. He responded, “I don’t care. I just want to play football and go home. But you’re holding me right now. I just wanna go home and play Pokemon.”
The reporter then made a grave mistake by calling the game “Pokeman,” which Williams seemingly took offense to. “Pokemon,” he corrected the reporter, “Don’t do that. You can’t disrespect Pokemon like that. Pokeman?”
However, this wasn’t the first time Jamaal Williams donned his Naruto gear, as he’s been spotted repping the Shonen Jump anime for several years. It wouldn’t be long before his love for “nerd culture” would show its face again.
Jamaal Williams, the first Swagg Kazekage
His interview outfits and references to Pokemon are likely picked up by many, but fans were confused on January 8, 2023, when Jamaal Williams’ player intro came on screen at the start of the Lions vs Packers game.
Donning yet another Naruto headband, Williams would announce himself as the “first Swagg Kazekage. Leader of the hidden village of the den.” This refers to the Kazekage or village leaders in the anime Naruto, and “the den” refers to the lion’s den.
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Following the victory over his former team, the Green Bay Packers, Williams melted fans’ hearts after breaking Barry Sander’s touchdown record and dedicating the achievement to his recently passed great-grandfather.
However, he wasn’t done making an impression on fans. As one user posted to Reddit, Jamaal Williams was spotted wearing a hat featuring the Gen 1 ghost-type Pokemon Gengar in yet another iconic post-game interview.
The comments on each post were flooded with spectators claiming Williams is a “National treasure” or their “new favorite football player.” There were also those who claimed they would start watching the Detroit Lions just to see more of Jamaal.
While sports franchises often seek ways to bring new eyes to their team, Jamaal Williams may just be the single best purchase the Lions have made in terms of viewer acquisition.