Jamal Adams, LeBron James, Michael Jordan
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The New York Jets fan mustn’t underestimate the personal brand side of Jamal Adams‘ extreme offseason social media actions.

Robby Sabo

Infuriating. Frustrating. Desperation. Perhaps even a bit of hope.

That’s the point.

Jamal Adams’ offseason actions want you to feel all of those emotions and more for en express purpose: for you to fall in line with the game most professionals are currently playing.

The New York Jets’ best player has firmly trapped all onlookers in his own personal haunted house that’s exited only by an emotional roller-coaster. From his initial anti-Jets remarks on Instagram—expressing thoughts that it “might be time to move on—to, more recently, posting one of his instant-classic pics in a Jets uniform, the emotional fan is hooked on a thrill ride that hits the highest of highs only a bit after reaching the lowest depths of the Earth.

It has to be what he wants. To have so many eyes glued on his social media accounts with alerts set up so his every move is chronicled on the daily is the definition of sports media big business in the year 2020.

As Ed Norton so plainly put it a number of times, “My mother didn’t raise no stupid children ya know.”

Remember, Adams, 24, has always been about his brand. During his early introduction to the NFL (entering his sophomore professional campaign), he set up a YouTube account. While the video content is tough to come by, which makes sense for an active professional athlete, Adams remains firmly entrenched in Instagram and Twitter content.

Of course his main goal is to snag that loot his production warrants, but it doesn’t hurt for his name to become a sports media topic in its own right.

His Instagram account currently has 788,000 followers, while his Twitter account has seen a cool 702,200 fans smash the follow button. Every eyeball, every individual gained within the sports media category that is “Jamal Adams” is a step in the right direction concerning his personal brand.

Adams signed an endorsement deal with Nike’s Jordan brand in March 2017 prior to the biggest time in the kid’s life: the NFL draft when and where he was snagged by the Jets in the six-hole. Much of what Adams does on social media reminds us of that prestigious business partnership so few athletes experience.

He’s taken extreme pride in that business relationship.

“In order to become the best, you have to surround yourself with the best,” Adams said in a post on the website, per Jim Kleinpeter of NOLA.com. “I’m honored to join a brand that stands for greatness.”

This is especially apparent when he discusses the likes of Michael Jordan and LeBron James. ESPN’s 30 for 30, The Last Dance, chronicling the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls had Adams out in front of the sports world through social media.

He’s even compared himself to LeBron in the way he’s recruited players in the past, a la the frenzied NBA offseason landscape.

“Just call me LeBron,” Adams told reporters in April 2019, via Connor Hughes of The Athletic.

The desire to be compensated on the level of a Jordan or LeBron for not only his skills on the field but his brand worth away from it is certainly there.

Jordan is currently worth $2.1 billion. LeBron’s net worth was recently calculated at about $450 million by Forbes in late 2018. Adams is scheduled to rake in about $3.5 million from the Jets in 2020. Information like this is what the kid sees; it’s what he feels and uses to aspire to reach his potential ceiling.

While his Jordan-brand big brothers are throwing hands in areas beyond sports, while earning the money he strives for, Adams is making far less than his “best safety in the league” status should fetch him. Of course, while the reasons why are obvious (the NFL player is up against a salary and recognition wall the NBA player is lucky enough to avoid), that doesn’t help explain the motor in his brain that’s striving for what those guys have and did throughout their careers.

And then there’s the societal plunge he’s recently dived into head and heart first. The Lewisville, TX native has been one of the most vocal athletes in the community since the tragedy that unfolded in Minneapolis, MN.

Forget the idea the Adams’ message and intentions are genuine—which, by all accounts, most level-headed folks would agree they are; what’s important to this topic is that it doesn’t hurt brand awareness.

Looking to branch out with honesty and emotions firmly soaked on his sleeve helps both the community and his brand. While the man isn’t receiving direct advertiser dollars from Twitter or Instagram directly, every eyeball on his name and face is another step forward to his endgame.

There are a few crazies out there who don’t like what Dave Chappelle has to say at times. It doesn’t matter. They still clicked his face.

“Remember bitch, you clicked on my face,” Chappelle said in Sticks and Stones, his acclaimed Netflix special.

It would take a hell of a lot for fans to stop clicking Adams’ recent social media messages, and, by the nature of the industry, the media doesn’t have a choice in the matter.

There’s no question emotions play a huge role in the saga that’s dragged on now for the better part of the last month. And the argument that he’s crossed a line tough to come back from is real.

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Joe Douglas‘ “to build the best culture in sports” mission statement isn’t helped if the Jets quickly turn around and dish out the bucks to a kid who’s acted this way for a solid period of time. What’s important at this moment is that Adams isn’t looking at it that way.

He was 14 years old the moment James announced he’d be “taking his talents to South Beach.” He was 18 when James turned his villainous character into Cleveland’s homecoming savior just four years later. Adams is simply playing an identical game the sports media world has trotted out there since Twitter took hold of all headlines.

It’s all about emotions, whether frustratingly depressing or positively giddy. It’s all about eyes on his name and face. Besides, a precedent has been set: In this sports media world, no villain keeps that title if he or she wants to shed the evil persona.

Jamal Adams is playing the game, the brand game, and no matter how mad any one person becomes, these offseason actions still serve as a positive towards his ultimate endgame that extends far beyond the football field. Do not underestimate that idea.


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