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ABC's Coverage of The 2021 ESPYS Presented by Capital One

Lorenzo Bevilaqua

Naomi Osaka is beloved. We saw that in the outpouring of support she received when she stepped away from press conferences, the French Open and Wimbledon to protect her mental health. She was recently named the Best Athlete in Women’s Sports at the ESPYS.

Most recently, that adoration was reflected in the sale of a Barbie doll made in her likeness.

According to CNN, the doll, released as a part of Mattel’s Role Model series, sold out hours after it was released on Monday.

Tweeting about the release of the doll, Osaka wrote: “I hope every child is reminded that they can be and do anything.”

Barbie commissioned designer Carlyle Nuera to craft the doll. In the Mattel press release, Nuera said:

“Obviously Naomi’s athletic skill is unmatched, that’s a fact. But what I personally admire the most about Naomi Osaka is how she uses her platform, the spotlight on her and her voice, to raise awareness about social justice.”

Nuera is referring, in part, to the masks Osaka wore during the 2020 US Open, bearing the names of innocent Black people who were slain at the hands of police, including Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and George Floyd. Osaka donned seven different face masks for each round of the tournament.

Trayvon Martin’s mother and Ahmaud Arbery’s father each thanked Osaka for raising awareness.

In response, during a press conference in which she said she was trying not to cry, Osaka said, “I’m not sure what I would be able to do if I was in their position, but I feel like I’m a vessel at this point, in order to spread awareness.  It’s not going to dull the pain, but hopefully I can help with anything that they need.”

According to TIME, when a reporter asked her what message she was trying to send, Osaka said, “Well, what was the message that you got was more the question. I feel like the point is to make people start talking.”

The people have been talking, not only about her social justice stances but her prowess on the court and her advocacy for mental health and self-care. So it should be no surprise that her doll has been so well-received.

While Osaka’s Barbie doll is still currently sold out, you can ask to be notified when it is available again.

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