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Akbar Gbajabiamila is a former NFL defensive end, who currently serves as the co-host for American Ninja Warrior, and a sports analyst for NFL Network. A true athlete in every sense of the word; Akbar grew up a multi-sport participant with a tremendous love for the game of basketball. Upon entering high school, Gbajabiamila quickly established a name for himself on the court for Crenshaw High School in Los Angeles, California. During his sophomore and junior Year, Gbajabiamila helped lead Crenshaw High to back-to-back City and State Championships – establishing the Crenshaw High dynasty era under head coach Willie West Jr. Although basketball was the focal point of his life at that time, he also became intrigued with the sport of football. It wasn’t until his senior year that Akbar decided to join his classmates on the gridiron – a decision he would soon become glad he made.
Gbajabiamila’s play on the gridiron his senior year landed him a scholarship to San Diego State University, where he quickly made an impact. Although his play on the field was tremendous, it was his work off the field that he soon became well known for. Upon arriving at San Diego State, Akbar joined the group Athletes For Education, and spent most his free time visiting surrounding communities and working with the youth on life skills. More specifically, Gbajabiamila developed a passion for financial literacy and spent countless hours speaking on the importance of investing and understanding how the financial system worked.
Akbar displayed rare qualities in a teammate, constantly striving to improve himself and those around him. This drive and determination led to being signed as a Free Agent by the Oakland Raiders in the 2003 NFL Draft. Against all odds – Gbajabiamila made the team out of training camp and played in 13 of the team’s 16 regular season games.
Off the field, Akbar began to pursue a new passion – becoming one of the NFL’s first athletes invited to their Broadcast Boot Camp. This honor was only brought to 20 players from around the league, and
provided these athletes with a short and rigorous look into the skills needed to embark on a broadcast or journalism career after the NFL. It was through this camp that Gbajabiamila began to make a name for himself in the broadcasting world.
Throughout his pro career with the Raiders, Chargers, and Dolphins, Akbar continued to pursue his passion for broadcast, spending time between playing stints volunteering at KSWB as the co-host for “Football Night in San Diego.” After his playing career, Akbar quickly transitioned to the broadcast booth and served as an analyst for the Mtn. Network and CBS Sports Network while taking voice and acting classes. His clear delivery, and infectious personality continued to impact the broadcast world and led to him being approached by ABC to be part of a three-man athlete team on the show Expedition Impossible.
The stage and exposure Expedition Impossible provided for Akbar helped him transition into an analyst position for CBS College Sports, then on to NFL Network as a member of the NFL Fantasy Live cast of hosts. In 2014, Gbajabiamila became a host alongside Matt Iseman for American Ninja Warrior. His hard work and dedication to his craft have made him one of the most polarizing talents on air today.
Off air, Akbar spends his spare time positively impacting the youth however he can. He is the founder of Rush The Passer, a year-round athletic, academic and life skills program for youth in Southern California. His passion to make the world a better place, combined with his polarizing personality on air make him an amazing person and someone that Jamie Fritz and the Fritz Martin Management team are proud to be the official agency for.
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