Marshawn Lynch entered the NFL in 2007 relatively unknown and often misunderstood, especially after a couple of frustrating years in Buffalo.
But by the time he retired in 2015, he became one of the most beloved personalities in all of pro sports.
His Beast Mode brand transcended anything on a football field and that’s because he always kept shit real. Whether it’s an interview, TV role, or just him interacting with fans, you see a guy who knows who he is and never changed for anyone.
Fast forward to 2017 and this man is doing the unthinkable. He’s returning to the NFL after a year off and playing for his hometown Oakland Raiders.
This is interesting for many reasons. For one he left the league in 2015 on his own terms and wasn’t showing any signs of decline. Another reason is that the Raiders recently announced they’d be moving the franchise to Las Vegas in 2019.
This obviously hasn’t sat well with Raiders fans in Oakland who are some of the most die-hard in sports. One consolation however is that they get their hometown hero and a couple years to legitimately win a Super Bowl.
Marshawn obviously brings a physical presence and championship pedigree into the locker room, but it’s what he’s been doing in the community even before he signed with the silver and black that will leave a lasting impact long after the team moves to Vegas.
To say the city of Oakland means a lot to Marshawn Lynch is an understatement.
We’re talking about a guy who never moved his roots to another city and lived in Oakland when the season was over, every season he played in the NFL.
It’s clear that the things he’s gone through and the people he grew up with in the city of Oakland made him the man he is today. He stays heavily involved within the community especially with the youth who he gives extra attention to.
With youth camps and even a rec center in the works, Marshawn wants to give kids in his neighborhood opportunities and experiences he never got to have.
Even if that means getting hands on and flattening a kid at his training programs, then he’s gonna do that.
Not many pro athletes or figures in Marshawn’s position actually get this involved day to day like he does. This man is really in the streets of Oakland talking to his people and giving them hope.
So when the chance to play in his city on a team that legitimately has a chance at winning it all came up, it was a no-brainer. Raiders or not, Marshawn was really out here.
The best part of this is that it’s all is that it’s organic. No corporate sponsor is paying him to go out and make appearances and there’s no cameras most of the time he’s doing his work within the community with his Fam 1st Family Foundation.
He even opened his first Beast Mode store and office in the middle of Oakland and sets up a ping pong table outside so that he can scrub his own fans. Just recently he set up a meet up in his neighborhood where over 300 people showed up on bikes to ride out.
2morrow at Oakland Tech 1 o'clock pic.twitter.com/PWcXkURayX
— Shawn Lynch (@MoneyLynch) May 19, 2017
To do what Marshawn does and to not let all of the money and lights get to his head is rare these days. You can tell a lot about a guy who never leaves the hood even after he’s made it. What he decides to do with his time and money says all about the man he is.
He’s humble, thankful, and knows that life is much more than just football.
Who knows how long he’ll play in the NFL but if one thing is for certain it’s that he’s retiring as a Raider while they’re still in Oakland ya dig.