One of the key metrics in deciding an influencer a brand works with is their engagement and ability to affect narratives in the industry. Some Nigerian personalities have made a name for themselves as sporting greats and positioned themselves as influencers in the sporting world. These are the people that attract brands and brand sponsorships. Here are the top Nigerian macro sports influencers.
- Odion Jude Ighalo: Odion Jude Ighalo is a Nigerian professional footballer who played as a striker for a Chinese club, Shanghai Greenland Shenhua. He was signed for Manchester United on loan at the end of the January 2020 transfer window, which was nothing short of inspiring as he grew up supporting the Reds. Odion Ighalo, lending a voice to the injustice happening in Nigeria during the EndSARS protest helped shine a global spotlight on the issue.
- Usman Kamaru: Popularly tagged the Nigerian Nightmare, Kamarudeen Usman is an impressive Nigerian-American professional mixed martial artist. He currently competes in the Welterweight division for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He is the current UFC Welterweight Champion. Usman is also The Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament winner. He became the first African-born mixed martial artist to win a world title with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and can be considered one of the top fighters of all time.
- Anthony Joshua: Anthony Joshua is an Olympic and two-time unified World Heavyweight boxing champion. Joshua is considered a highly marketable individual as he has even helped restore interest in the sport in general. Joshua has a range of sponsors from almost every conceivable industry from luxury watches, perfumes, cars, drinks, nutrition to TV.
- Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo: Giannis Antetokounmpo is a Greek basketball player of Nigerian descent. He is fondly termed the ‘Greek Freak’. He is a professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He is one of the more prominent voices in the world of sports.
- Israel Adesanya: Israel Adesanya is a Nigerian-born New Zealand professional mixed martial artist, retired kickboxer and boxer. As a mixed martial artist, he is currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), representing his native Nigeria. He is the UFC Middleweight Champion and has an undefeated record of 20 wins and no losses. Adesanya is considered one of the best strikers in mixed martial arts and a vocal powerhouse in sports.
- Divine Oduduru: Ejowvokoghene Divine Oduduru is a Nigerian track and field sprinter specialising in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. He first of all gained prominence when an interview clip of his went viral in which he was saying how he “never experred” his win. He’s gone on to show that he’s made of the stuff of winners. He holds a personal best of 9.86 seconds for the 100 m and 19.73 seconds for the 200 m. The latter is a Nigerian national record.
- Nneka Ogwumike: Nnemkadi Chinwe Victoria “Nneka” Ogwumike is a Nigerian-American basketball player for the Los Angeles Sparks of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), after being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2012 WNBA Draft. Women in sports is a challenging industry. It is challenging to gain prominence and recognition. Nneka Ogwumike beat all odds and had emerged a name to reckon with in the world of basketball.
- Al-Farouq Aminu: Al-Farouq Ajiede Aminu is a Nigerian-American professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association. He plays internationally with the Nigeria national basketball team.
- Ese Brume: Ese Brume is a Nigerian athlete and a champion in the long jump sport. She is a three-time African senior champion in the Long Jump and holds a personal best of 7.05 m. She is the African junior record holder and a five-time African junior champion in athletics. Her accolades have gathered a loyal fanbase and earned her a voice to be heard.
- Mikel Obi: John Obi Mikel is adored and worshipped by Nigerians. Many regard him for his loyalty to his country and his national pride. The Nigerian professional footballer who spent ten years at Chelsea began his career with local club Plateau United, before joining Norwegian club Lyn at 17. He has undoubtedly earned a place in history as one of the football greats in Nigeria.
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