Naomi Osaka is the present and the future, a 23-year-old dynamo who is the third-ranked player in the world.
She is the kind of athlete that is meant for these astounding times. Earlier this year she embraced not just the Black Lives Matter movement but the opportunity she had to share her voice thanks to her platform, a platform she is willing to use to spread goodwill and empowerment.
On Nov. 16 Nike will drop her latest collection throughout Japan as well as North and South America. The design is pure Osaka with nods to her multicultural background.
The collection’s look is clean yet vibrant, simplified while incorporating colors and designs that pay homage to the tennis star’s ethnicity.
In that way, each piece is adorned with Osaka’s logo that Nike explains is reminiscent of the Japanese flag. It strips away unnecessary clutter and leaves a minimalist mark that makes it not only easily identifiable but versatile in its placement.
Now as for the designs that pepper the long sleeves of the collection, Nike had a cool way of incorporating Osaka’s background into that as well.
“The long-sleeve shirt shows off the capsule’s key design tribute: a camo print inspired by the coordinates of Japan, Haiti and the United States. The digits from each nation were fed through a digital algorithm to create the unique pattern,” Nike’s website explains.
The tennis star is increasingly becoming a bigger part of the pop culture lexicon. A recent hilarious video of her schooling her boyfriend, rapper Cordae, at tennis had over 200K views and 30K likes on TikTok.
Being an avid gamer, she was also featured on an IGN video showing off her playthrough with the new PS5 console.
Her popularity is undeniable and means she could so easily fall into the realm of meme but is instead using her platform to put substance behind her fame.
Osaka has a Haitian father, a Japanese mother and grew up in the United States. Her background as a multicultural athlete means a great deal, and it’s evident in her response to being portrayed as lighter-skinned in a past Japanese anime ad and her support for the BLM movement.
At the time, the sports world shuttered because of a pandemic and a nation marched because of social injustice.
“Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis,” Osaka wrote back in August, via The Undefeated. “I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority-white sport I consider that a step in the right direction.”
Osaka is passionate and precise on the court, her marksmanship with her shots is unparalleled. It's becoming increasingly clear that she is just as exact with her decisions off the court.