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Unsurprisingly, but no less of note, popular Twitch streamer Ninja has made the Time 2019 list of 100 most influential people. Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, from Grayslake, Illinois, has set multiple streaming viewing records while playing Fortnite on Twitch. He is, without a doubt, one of the most popular gamers in the world.
NFL pro athlete JuJu Smith-Schuster wrote the excerpt for the streaming star’s feature. Schuster first met Ninja while playing Fortnite with him, Drake, and Travis Scott in March of last year. “I play in the NFL, so you’d think I wouldn’t be star-struck much,” wrote Shuster. But, the wide receiver “was at a complete loss for words” upon meeting Ninja for the first time. Schuster has been playing games his whole life and watches Ninja every day as many do. “He was the unquestioned best in the world at his craft, something I had so much respect for both as an athlete and as a fan,” Schuster continues. “Now, he was single-handedly blending gaming and pop culture.”
As many of us know, gaming is sometimes viewed as a waste of time. Some people don’t consider it a legitimate hobby, or career path, or really anything to take seriously. Schuster sees the same reaction in others, and mentions Ninja’s demonstrable impact in changing that viewpoint:
“I’ve been a huge video-game fanatic my whole life. But people have seen it as childish and a waste of time. Ninja was huge in building up the credibility of e-sports. At the end of the day, Ninja is an absolute legend, and someone to whom we owe a lot for making gaming what it is today.”
Time puts together their list of the 100 most influential people every single year. Both the international writing staff and past Time 100 members choose the list winners. Others on this year’s list include Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Khalid, and Brie Larson. Ninja may have been the first esports star to make the list, but we can be sure that he’s opened the door for many more.