New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara made a name for himself during his electrifying rookie season by making opponents miss on the field. Since then, it has been tough to miss Kamara off the field, as the 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year has popped up seemingly everywhere. From award shows, to magazine spreads, to music videos, the "Summer of Alvin" has provided some sweet relief for football fans from the dog days of the offseason.
In July, Kamara stepped out onto the red carpet of the ESPY awards, wearing his typical fashion forward attire, and fit in seamlessly with the event's star-studded guestlist of athletes, actors, and other celebrities. Though he lost out on the award for Best Breakthrough Athlete to Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, the always-smiling Kamara was as jovial as ever, hopping on stage and serenading the ESPY crowd with his rendition of Ella Mai's "Boo'd Up" during a commercial break.
The night was classic Kamara – enjoying himself no matter what and working hard so those around him do too.
Kamara's infectious enthusiasm and unique, confident style, coupled with his on-field success have helped him quickly gain national notoriety and a rapidly growing fanbase. His active social media presence shows an athlete who happily interacts with his fans while showing off a look that is all his own.
GQ magazine, a longtime arbiter of men's fashion and style, took notice of the 23-year-old and featured him in a spread for their August issue.
Besides fashion, Kamara's love of music, and an appreciation for that industry's culture, are another aspect of his life he proudly shares with his fans.
While growing up in suburban Atlanta and leading Norcross High School to its first state title, Kamara saw first-hand how success in hip-hop can produce similar stardom to sports. His longtime friends, the multi-platinum rap group "Migos," grew from a local act to international stars, and Kamara had a front row seat to their come-up, appearing in their 2014 music video, "Emmitt Smith."
More recently, another rap superstar would ask Kamara for an assist:
"We were just in LA around ESPY time, and we linked up. He said he was shooting a video in New Orleans and thought I should be in it," Kamara said recently.
The "he" Kamara is referring to is Drake, one of the biggest stars in music, and the video was for the artist's uber-hit "In My Feelings," which since its Aug. 2 debut has more than 52 million YouTube views. The track borrows heavily from New Orleans bounce music, so fittingly, Drake and his collaborators had the video shot and set in the Big Easy.
It only made sense for NOLA's brightest young star to have a cameo in it as well.
"It was cool," Kamara said. "It came out pretty dope. I liked it."
Kamara certainly has embraced his newfound stardom, but is taking it all in stride.
"It is cool. It's a lot of blessings," Kamara said during a session with New Orleans media earlier this week. "Doing what I did on the field to see it translate to off the field. A lot of fun things and great opportunities I'm being handed... I turn a lot down. It's really just if I don't feel something then I just don't. I don't care what it is, it's not about the money for me, if I'm into something or I truly have a passion for something then I do it. If not, then I kindly say thank you, but no thank you."
Any lingering concerns that Kamara's whirlwind offseason might be a dreaded "distraction" were put to bed by Saints Coach Sean Payton.
"He's handled all of that stuff well," Payton said a few days ahead of the Saints preseason opener Thursday night at Jacksonville. "...He's a smart guy, super smart. There can be 'X' amount of noise away from the building, but I think he's real level-headed…I think he handles all of that real well."
"It is what it is," Kamara said. "It's football time now so I'm locked back in on the football, offseason is offseason. There's time for everything, and right now it's football time and I'm locked back in on my team."
"I think my message was consistent throughout the year, I'm just working, whatever comes, comes."