Whatnot, the largest livestream shopping platform in the United States, is teaming up with New Orleans Saints running back Jamaal Williams and the voice actor behind Naruto Uzumaki, Maile Flanagan, to auction off signed Naruto Funko Pop!, box sets, headbands, and custom Naruto sneakers by Kickstradomis live on Whatnot.
All proceeds will go toward the Jamaal Williams Foundation – a new non-profit founded by Williams to provide financial and community support to assist in youth development and help meet the needs of those facing food insecurities. The livestream auction on Whatnot marks the first fundraising event for the foundation.
The “Naruto Night” livestream, is taking place on May 9, 2023 at 8:00 p.m. EST on Whatnot, will be hosted by the NFL’s biggest anime fan as he is joined by the voice actor for Naruto Uzumaki, the main character from Williams’ favorite anime show, Naruto. The two will discuss his love for Naruto and celebrate fans of the manga franchise.
Items for auction will include a variety of Naruto collectibles, including Naruto Funko Pop! signed by Flanagan, Naruto action figures, Naruto Volume 1 Manga, Naruto Complete Series Manga Box Sets, Naruto headbands, and a pair of custom Naruto Nike Air Force 1’s designed for Williams by Sal ‘Kickstradomis’ Amezcua, one of the world’s most influential sneaker customizers for athletes and celebrities. Williams commissioned two unique pairs of Air Force 1’s featuring Naruto artwork on one pair and Naruto character Sasuke Uchiha on the other – one of which will be auctioned during the livestream.
“The stories and principles of Naruto have been hugely influential for me, both on and off the field. Naruto faced a lot of adversity and was able to move beyond that and become this powerful force of positivity and kindness,” said Jamaal Williams. “Outside of Naruto‘s impact on my own life, I have so much love for the Naruto and anime communities. These are my people. I’m excited to partner with Whatnot and Maile to celebrate and rally fans around the franchise, all for a great cause I’m passionate about.”
Self-proclaimed “The First Swag Kazekage,” Williams’s love for Naruto has been well documented. The running back’s passion and advocacy for anime was ushered into the cultural zeitgeist after his viral self-delivered introduction video as “First Swagg Kazekage, leader of the hidden village of the den” before a Detroit Lions game against the Green Bay Packers in early 2023. Williams’s Twitter handle, @jswaggdaddy, references the Naruto character, and both his profile photo and cover photo at the moment have references to anime.