In her ESPN ESPY Award debut, tennis phenomenon Naomi Osaka was the winner of Best Athlete in Women’s Sports. Osaka kept her acceptance speech short and sweet, admitting off top she was a little nervous. Osaka thanked ESPN, her supporters, and her fans and said, “I know this year’s been really — it hasn’t even finished — but it’s been really tough for a lot of us and, for me, I just want to say I really love you guys.”
She went on to say that she admired the other athletes, watches some of them on television and expressed that the experience was surreal being at the program for the first time.
July is turning out to be quite a month for her. On the heels of winning that award Osaka’s Barbie doll was released by Mattel. Osaka tweeted out, “I first teamed up with @Barbie in 2019 and today we’re introducing the Barbie Role Model Naomi Osaka doll. I hope every child is reminded that they can be and do anything. Fun fact: (the doll is wearing my outfit from the 2020 Australian Open lol)”
Osaka was one of twenty women selected for the Barbie “Shero” line in 2019. The Osaka doll, designed by Carlyle Nuera, sold out quickly. It is not surprising considering the impact and influence Osaka has had on and off the court. Her immeasurable talent, combined with her social activism and championing of mental health has kept her front and center for the better part of the last couple of years and it is encouraging to see her being recognized for it.
Finally, Osaka was featured as the first athlete that is a black (Haitian and Japanese) woman on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover. She shares this spotlight with two other history making black women. Megan Thee Stallion is the first rapper to be featured on the SI Swimsuit cover and Activist Leyna Bloom is the first transgender woman to be featured on the SI Swimsuit cover.
Osaka will be spending the end of July competing at the Tokyo Games representing Japan.