If you’re wondering what it was like to be in the Shoes of a legend, this is the closest you’ll get to it.
I met Christian in 1990. My first encounter with him was a scary one, for me anyway. I was sitting on a bench at the practice facility next to Derrick Thomas. We were talking about what wwgere we were going to eat that night. We had plans to go out to Westport. See pic below!
About 15 minutes later this monster of a man in a white sleeveless shirt (under armor before it was a thing) comes trotting out on the field. I said, who the hell is that?? D said, that’s Christian Okoye!
Me: No way!!! That’s the guy that ran the 4.53 40??
Me: yeah right.
Derrick: wait until he gets going.
He “got going! After picking my jaw off the ground, i said, how?? He was so fast and had so much acceleration that it made me feel very slow. I was a 220-pound guy in very good condition with a lot of speed. 4.46 40. A while later, I found out that Christian ran a 4.4 40! Then I was just mad at myself for being so slow.
After a while, I got to speak with him. He was such a nice guy and very soft-spoken. (Did not anticipate that) He was simply a nice unpretentious guy who had an extraordinary ability, and I don’t think he knew it at the time.
Over the years he became one of the best running backs of all time. Although his career lasted just six years. He accomplished more in those six years than most other running backs did in ten. 1987 all rookie team, 1st team all pro, 2nd team all pro, NFL rushing leader, 2x Pro Bowl, and the Kansas Currently Chiefs Hall Of Fame. Only two players have surpassed his 40 Touchdowns, Peiest Holmes and Marcus Allen.
As a diehard Chiefs fan, I shouldn’t have worried about players who had to go up against him, but I did. When he hit the hole, or made a hole I just knew someone would come up very slow, or be helped up by someone. He was the first one to reach out a hand to help someone up who just got blasted by the Mack Truck that was Christian Okoye.
He was the only player I have ever known who had compassion for opposing players, at least the only one who was as great as he was anyway. See there were players who had compassion, but they lacked the ability to do what needed to be done to win games. To move the chains, run over the opposing players consistently and still care about their wellbeing. that was Christian. That is the Nigerian Nightmare.
Now, with all that being said. He has written a book about his life and his time in the NFL. I know the story behind his struggles and his successes. But no one can tell the story like the man who lived it. I could go on and on about how he scared the hell out of me and his own teammates simply because he was so visually intimidating. And also how he touched so many lives in such a profound manner. All his accomplishments after football. But I’m going to leave that up to him.
His book is on preorder at Amazon right now. I would recommend you get your hands on it as soon as possible. For any football fan that wants to understand the life of the Nigerian Nightmare, and how the NFL has an impact on the lives of the 3% that make it to the league, this is the best way to get to know the man who lived it.
I cherish the memories I made with this team and Christen. And I know you will have a different perspective on the game and how much he contributed to it.
Check it out below.
Chiefs Focus is not receiving a commission or any other form of compensation in any way from anyone for writing this article or from the sales of this book. This article is written for a long time friend.