The Time 100 is a 16-year institution of one of the world’s most famous current affairs magazines, ranking the 100 most influential people in the world each year and thereby holding up a mirror to our changing times. And this year, none other than Tyler ‘Ninja’ Blevins, a full-time streamer of videogames, has made the list.
Ninja’s profile – which you can check out at Time here – is written by JuJu Smith-Schuster, an NFL star and wide-receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who nonetheless confesses himself “star-struck” upon playing Fortnite with Ninja.
“I was among the millions of people all across the world who had been watching Ninja play Fortnite, the popular video game, every day for months,” writes Smith-Schuster. “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. Now, he was single-handedly blending gaming and pop culture.”
Elsewhere, the Time 100 features the usual global influencers, from politicians Nancy Pelosi, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, and Donald Trump to cultural and sporting megastars such as Taylor Swift, LeBron James, and Emilia Clarke.
It’s surreal to see a gamer and Twitch streamer in such company, but after the 2018 that Ninja had – which included appearances on a Super Bowl ad and streaming from Times Square on New Year’s Eve – it’s hardly surprising.
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“Ninja was huge in building up the credibility of esports,” says Smith-Schuster. “And someone to whom we owe a lot for making gaming what it is today.”