This empowering anthemic track finds vocalist Patrick Stump proclaiming, "If I can live through this, I can do anything."
Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, who is also the band's lyricist, has been taking medication for bipolar disorder since he was eighteen, and it may well be that he is referencing his battles with the disorder.
Pete Wentz teased "Champion" on Instagram a couple of weeks before its release, describing how it reminds him of the plot of the 1980s movie The NeverEnding Story. He wrote:
"It always stuck out to me as a kid - first they're like 'wait you're just a kid lol we need a warrior' then they're like 'OK you'll do I guess you'll do' and then 'no one can help you and if you don't do this our entire world dies, so no pressure' (Shout out to the face Atreyu makes after the guy is like "our whole world will be destroyed"). No one believes but at the same time we all need to believe in you. This one is for the kid warriors out there hunting the purple buffalo."
Pete Wentz posted a message, to coincide with the song's release, in which he stated the track was inspired by various legendary greats who had to obstacles before they became champions.
"Nelson Mandela. Billie Jean King. The kid hunters of the purple buffalo. Niki Lauda. Jamal Malik. Michael Jordan playing baseball. The Warriors (and the Cubs!)… In my head champions aren't born, they are forged."
The song was produced by the band with pop producer Jesse Shatkin. He is best known for his work with Sia including her hit single "Chandelier
The song's music video explores the concept of "fake reality," showing people chasing their dreams and experiencing the world through VR headsets. Actors Josh Brener and Timothy Granaderos plus The Bachelor star Ashley Iaconetti, all make appearances and Jaden Smith ends the clip by destroying the headset with a baseball bat. Pete Wentz commented to Kerrang:
"I think there's got to be a balance to how much we live our lives online and in the virtual world. It's interesting that you can create an avatar of yourself and have that live life for you when the real world can be an awesome place if you just leave your house. One of the great things about that video was reaching out to Jaden Smith and having him do his part. He's a really good actor, and a talented kid."