EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Given his well-known love for soccer and his last name, it's understandable the pro athlete Odell Beckham Jr. wanted to meet was David Beckham, who was once one of the world's great soccer players – or, ironically as he is known in his native England, a footballer.
That meeting took place recently when Beckham, the Giants wide receiver, visited Great Britain for the first time.
"I got to meet one of my childhood idols since I could ever remember, and a guy who I watched probably since I was four or five years old, David Beckham," Odell Beckham Jr. said. "It was a pretty surreal moment for me, meeting a guy who I've clowned about being a relative of all this time." Beckham added he was "Like a little kid again; you are just excited," at meeting…Beckham.
Each Beckham has a long list of achievements. In 2014, Beckham Jr. had the greatest season by a rookie wide receiver in NFL history, despite playing in only 12 games. His season totals of 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns are all franchise rookie records. He was named the Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year, the first Giants player to be so honored in the 58-year history of the award.
David Beckham was the first English player to win league titles in four countries: England, Spain, the United States and France. His accomplishments included scoring 17 goals for the English national team from 1996-2009. He retired at the conclusion of the 2012-13 season.
Photos of Odell Beckham Jr. in London to promote the NFL
Odell Beckham Jr. said he played soccer from the age of three until he was 14. His youth coach wanted him to try out for a national junior team, but Beckham didn't want to spend the time overseas it would have required, particularly since he excelled at other sports.
So what did David Beckham, who will turn 40 in two weeks, say to the 22-year-old Odell?
"He just told me, 'You have to keep the legacy going,'" Beckham Jr. said. "He told me he was watching me throughout the season, catching bits and pieces of it in London or L.A., wherever he's at. But he's been keeping up with me and watching me, and just to keep up the family name."
Beckham Jr. is off to an excellent start in that regard.
Check out photos of WR Odell Beckham Jr. from the 2014 season