||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
|No. 98, 94, 93|
|Position:||Defensive end / Linebacker|
|Date of birth:||May 6, 1979|
|Place of birth:||Los Angeles, California|
|Height:||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Weight:||260 lb (118 kg)|
|High school:||Los Angeles (CA) Crenshaw|
|College:||San Diego State|
|Career highlights and awards|
Career NFL statistics
|Stats at NFL.com|
Akbar Oluwakemi-Idowu Gbajabiamila (born May 6, 1979) is a former American football defensive end, who currently is the co-host for American Ninja Warrior and works as a sports analyst for the NFL Network. He was signed by the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent in 2003. He played college football at San Diego State.
Gbajabiamila a former hoop star who won "Back-to-Back" City and State Championships (1996,1997) with the dynasty of the Crenshaw High School Basketball teams of the Willie West Jr. era, made the move to play football in his senior year. Gbajabiamila was an all-league and all-conference choice as senior at Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles, California. He was also named team’s defensive lineman of the year, compiling 11 sacks and 74 tackles in his senior campaign.
Gbajabiamila has always lived an active lifestyle, one that combined social consciousness with athletic success. He helped his alma mater, Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles (where he is again volunteering to assist the school’s athletes in training and life skills), win back to back city and state basketball championships in 1996 and 1997 before moving on to the gridiron for his senior season. His defensive prowess earned him all-league and all-conference selections and led to a scholarship to San Diego State University, where he was all-Mountain West Conference in his senior year of 2002. However it was off the field where Akbar began making his biggest impact as an undergrad. He joined the group Athletes For Education, one of a handful of collegiate players that were part of the outreach group, and worked with founder Steve Haynes and a group of San Diego-area professional players to go into communities and work with young people on life skills. Akbar’s passion was speaking about financial literacy, and he spent hours working with youth in San Diego about the value of investing and understanding how the financial system worked. He also worked on reading and math programs with impoverished youth, giving him insight as a young athlete into the value of community assistance.
Gbajabiamila went undrafted in the 2003 NFL Draft and later signed with the Oakland Raiders as a free agent. He made the team out of training camp and played in 13 of the team's 16 regular season games, while being inactive for three. He recorded seven tackles (four solo) on the season, with his first and only sack of the season coming against Daunte Culpepper, then with the Minnesota Vikings.
In 2004 Gbajabiamila split time between defensive end and linebacker, occasionally filling in for players such as Travian Smith and Tyler Brayton. He appeared in 14 games for the Raiders during the regular season and was inactive for two games. He accumulated a career-high 14 tackles (11 solo) and added a sack on the year. His lone sack came against Brad Johnson and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while he recorded a season-high three tackles in games against the Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars. Gbajabiamila also recovered a blocked punt against the Carolina Panthers which led to a Raiders touchdown.
Battling injuries during the 2005 training camp, Gbajabiamila was released by the Raiders on September 3. He had a workout with the Green Bay Packers two days later, but he was not signed and spent the season out of football. In 2008 re-signed with the Raiders and was released to retire as a Raider.
San Diego Chargers
Gbajabiamila returned to the NFL in 2006 after being signed by the San Diego Chargers on January 12. The fit was a good one for him, who as slightly undersized yet quick defensive end was a perfect fit for the 3-4 defense employed by then-defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and the Chargers.
On February 6, 2007 it was announced that Gbajabiamila had been signed to a future contract with the Miami Dolphins. The move reunited him with new Dolphins head coach Cam Cameron, who was offensive coordinator in San Diego the season before when Gbajabiamila was a member of the Chargers. On September 11, 2007 he was released by the Dolphins. He spent the season out of football.
In 2005, Gbajabiamila was selected as one of the NFL’s first athletes into their Broadcast Boot Camp, held in Mount Laurel, N.J., and designed to give 20 players a short and rigorous look into the skills needed to embark on a broadcast or journalism career after their playing careers. He also took advantage of some time between playing stints to volunteer at KSWB, the NBC affiliate in San Diego, and ended up as the co-host for “Football Night in San Diego,” while he awaited his next chance back in the pros. He hosted the show for two and a half seasons (2006–2008) before getting one last shot in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins.
Akbar’s full name is Akbar Oluwakemi-Idowu Gbajabiamila. Akbar is Arabic and means "great." His middle and last names are Yoruba. The middle names, Oluwakemi means "God blessed me" and Idowu means "born after twins." He has twin older brothers, one of whom is Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. His last name, Gbajabiamila means "big man come save me." This name comes from his paternal great-great-grandfather who stood seven feet tall and was the village moderator in the Nigerian village in which he lived.
In 2002 his mother, Bolatito, died in a tragic car accident. In 2000 his father, Mustapha, after years of treatment, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. While a member of the Chargers in 2006, Akbar routinely drove back-and-forth from San Diego to Los Angeles to spend time with his father.
With his playing career over, Akbar turned his focus to the broadcast booth in addition to his philanthropic work, serving as an analyst for the Mtn. Network and CBS Sports Network for two years, while also taking voice and acting classes. He also founded Rush The Passer, a year-round athletic and academic and life skills program for youth in Southern California. In 2010 was approached by reality producer Mark Burnett to be part of a three-man athlete team for his latest project on ABC, Expedition Impossible. That role, and the exposure that came with it, helped further Akbar’s exposure.
In 2009, Gbajabiamila was an analyst for Division I games on CBS College Sports. He was a contestant on the reality adventure game show Expedition Impossible. His team "The Football Players" finished in 4th place on the show.
As of 2012[update], he has joined the NFL Network as a member of the NFL Fantasy Live cast of hosts. As of 2014[update], he is a host alongside Matt Iseman for American Ninja Warrior being hosted on G4, Esquire Network and NBC.