Kobe Buffalomeat took the internet by storm Feb. 1 after he announcing he’d signed his letter of intent to play football for Illinois State, and the school posted the news on Twitter. In less than 24 hours, the tweet received 5,400 likes and 4,200 retweets. Thursday night, the 18-year-old appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
Buffalomeat also tweeted:“Proud to say that I have officially committed to play football at Illinois state university #redbirds” Buffalomeat tweeted Jan. 29.
At 6-foot-7, 285-pounds, Buffalomeat, a Cheyenne-Arapaho tribal member from Lawrence, Kansas was a recruit of off mainstream radar. But the Illinois State viral tweet got Buffalomeat noticed.
Though Buffalomeat’s name was the recipient of mostly sarcastic comments, including a tweets from the fast-food chain Arby’s asking if they could pre-order the jersey, Buffalomeat was invited to Kimmel’s program.
Once on the show, Buffalomeat found himself also being teased by the comedy icon.
“You know, my wife’s having a baby,” Kimmel said. “We never even considered Kobe Buffalomeat.”
Buffalomeat told Kimmel that meeting new people and going out in public has always been a challenge throughout his life. “They have always said, ‘Is that your last name?’ Uh, yes it is. You go to airports, grocery stores, you pay with a card, they kind of look at it, double-take, and then they ask my mom or me, ‘Is that really your last name?’”
Though Buffalomeat hasn’t yet played college football, his new-found fame could warrant extra attention during the football season. Last year, there were just 109 Native American football players at NCAA Division I out of 28,380.
Cary Rosenbaum (Colville) is a correspondent and columnist for Indian Country Media Network. Follow him on Twitter: @caryrosenbaum