Sports icon Sonny Bill Williams has been a trailblazer throughout his hugely successful and multi-faceted career in the field.
And the rugby, league and now boxing star is hoping his foray into the commentary booth will be just as inspiring to those who may not have had a voice in previous generations.
“I know I represent a lot of young Polynesian boys, Kiwi boys who represent so much on the pitch and when it comes to off the pitch we’re not really in that space,” Williams told Nick McArdle after speaking. signed as Rugby and NRL Commentator for Stan Sport and Nine’s Wide World of Sports.
“So being able to jump into that space and see how we’re doing is what I’m looking forward to the most.”
Williams, 35, officially hung up the football boots this week after a unique and scintillating career winning two Rugby World Cup titles, two NRL debut titles and countless titles.
He will continue to pursue his goal of becoming world boxing champion while delivering what it says will be a new perspective and insight on screen and behind the microphone.
But with a young family, tons of dough, and human rights and social activism ambitions, the question is why?
“Before deciding to enter this space, I just asked myself this simple question: is it going to be a challenge?
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“And the answer has been an overwhelming yes,” said Williams.
“I am a big fan without any challenge, there is no growth.
“I’m just happy to speak from my perspective and the way I see the game.
“Because I watch a lot of games, I hear the commentators and they’re not far off, but sometimes my opinions and the way I see things don’t really match what they see.
“So it’s just a different point of view and I think I have to.”
Williams will also maintain an active stake in the NRL as a a well-qualified mentor for teenage Sydney Roosters sensation Joseph Suaalii.
But the All Blacks firmly believed that entering the media would take him out of his comfort zone and act as a beacon for the Pasifika community.
“I think I have to be in this space and give that away because it will show a lot of my people that we can thrive in this space too,” said Williams.
“I naturally think I was always going to get into that type of space, that type of work, but I needed a kick from the back to do it.
“I could have just gone and lived a comfortable and quiet life, but like my athletic career, I’ve never been the type to sit down and let it go.
“So when this opportunity presented itself, I knew I had to grab it with both hands.
“While it’s a little intimidating, it’s exciting at the same time, so I’m pretty excited to see how it all plays out.”
Williams’ full interview with McArdle will air exclusively on Stan Sport’s Rugby paradise Tuesday at 8 p.m. AEDT.