The 100 Most Influential People of 2021
Jerry Lai—USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
By Russell Wilson
September 15, 2021 7:19 AM EDT

Naomi Osaka’s humility and dedication to others has been spectacular to watch. It’s incredibly meaningful that she has been able to talk honestly about struggling with her mental health and share with us her vulnerability. She’s been able to say to the world: Hey, listen, I’m going through something. Here’s my truth.

In doing that, she’s serving others—just as she has before. After the death of George Floyd in May 2020, Naomi participated in protests in Minneapolis; during last year’s U.S. Open—which she ultimately won—Naomi wore masks honoring seven Black Americans killed in recent years, including Trayvon Martin and Breonna Taylor. She shows you can be among the best in the world at what you do, and still fight for justice and be open about the challenges you face.

We all have the capacity to make a difference. But sometimes, someone’s sphere of influence is so great, they can change a culture, change a society, change a whole world. Naomi Osaka has the power to do that.

Wilson is an NFL player for the Seattle Seahawks

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