American, 21, Football
Stud wide-receiver with crossover gaming appeal
Key partners: HyperX, Monster Headphones, Adidas, New Era
JuJu Smith-Schuster is more than just a five-syllable name - he is a crossover athlete just as capable of mixing it up as a key component in one of the National Football League’s (NFL) most vaunted offences as he is drawing big streaming numbers on Twitch.
The third wheel in the Ninja-Drake Fortnite moment of March 2018, the Pittsburgh Steelers wideout has a highly likeable social media persona and, as such, an engaged following - even his dog has more than 100,000 Instagram followers. When the rookie’s bike was stolen last season he enlisted his followers to help him find it and eventually it was returned. As a thank you, Smith-Schuster hosted a charity bike ride in June.
An avid gamer, EA tapped him to appear at gaming conference E3 in Los Angeles and he became the first NFL player to sign a deal with HyperX, the headset brand endemic to esports. He may never be the Steelers’ number one receiver whilst Antonio Brown is on the scene, but he might just create his own legacy. TB