Akbar Gbajabiamila

Akbar Gbajabiamila

Akbar Gbajabiamila is the host of NBC's three-time Emmy-nominated series American Ninja Warrior; Universal Kids' spin-off show American Ninja Warrior Jr.; as well as NFL Networks' highest-rated show, NFL Fantasy Live. He is also the author of "Everyone Can Be A Ninja," his first book, due out this May.

The L.A. native grew up in the Crenshaw district with his mother and father, both of whom were born and raised in Nigeria, and his six siblings. His first name means "great" in Arabic, and his last name means "big man come save me."

Gbajabiamila played football for San Diego State all four years, while receiving his degree in communications and new media studies. He then played five years in the NFL as a linebacker and defensive end with the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins before retiring in 2008.

Gbajabiamila currently serves as a board member for the Asomugha Foundation, an organization aimed at creating better educational opportunities for impoverished communities. He also serves on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which raises millions of dollars for Parkinson's research. The cause is driven by the fact that his own father was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the late 1990s.

When Akbar was playing in the NFL, he started a financial literacy campaign with the non-profit organization, Athletes for Education that brought him to elementary schools to teach children about the importance of how money works. He remains passionate about the cause for athletes and every day Americans and feels a responsibility as an influencer as the host of American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior.

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