Soon he was seated in the back of black Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, a touring van that resembles a fattened orca. The vehicle lurched northward, toward another event, this one at the Nike store in SoHo. Vybz Kartel’s “Fever” pulsed over the speakers.
Mr. Beckham believes he has been targeted by the media, and that even innocuous situations involving him have become tabloid fodder. He once wore cleats depicting the logos of media outlets including ESPN, The New York Post and TMZ with the word “Shhhhh!!!” scrawled atop them.
“There’s no real privacy anymore,” he said. “That’s the only thing that gets annoying. What if I want to go to the grocery store and get some candy, get some Hot Cheetos? You don’t wish your life is any different, it’s just what your life is. I don’t take anything personal anymore.”
He paused, then said, “I try not to. I can’t say I don’t.”
Mr. Beckham’s cockscomb of blond hair and thick dark beard were accented by a hammock of glittering chains, a Supreme T-shirt showing the rapper Nas and jeans with “Sinners” written on the knees. His mosaic of tattoos included portraits of Tupac Shakur, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mike Tyson (shown chomping on Evander Holyfield’s ear).
“It’s not like I’d bite someone’s ear off to win,” he said, then reconsidered.“But I really would. ‘Oh, I’m about to lose this fight?’” He bared his teeth and made gnawing noises. He plans on adding a tattoo of Allen Iverson stepping over Tyronn Lue.
Once at Nike SoHo, Mr. Beckham was ushered through a back entrance, into an elevator and up to an impromptu greenroom. Photographers snapped away as he personalized a Giants jersey on an e-tablet with the assistance of Eric Elms, a Brooklyn-based artist. “I should have made this small for my mama,” Mr. Beckham said of a digital mock-up that read “Savage” on the back.
He inspected a table freighted with lobster and steak from Balthazar. “This might be a little rare,” said Ajay Sangha, a member of the Beckham entourage who wore an Anti Social Social Club hoodie. The pair poured tiny shots of Hennessy cognac into small plastic cups. Before tossing his back, Mr. Beckham crouched and peered over his shoulder to make sure no one was taking pictures.