I always get a lot of question, whether it’s from reporters, or kids, or parents, friends, and people in general. I take a lot of pride in giving an honest answer each time, that’s what I will continue to do. I don’t believe in fabricating or gassing up something just because. Now, with that being said “A convo between two” is my way of sharing some of the questions I’ve been asked that turned into a conversation that can be taken in any range. Some of these convos might even be what's going on instead my head (like you don't talk to yourself, don't judge me). I’m always grateful for good healthy conversations that I can learn something from. People always say that words don't mean anything, but in reality they do. Words can spark something within you at any moment. So with that being said, let’s start!
Reporter: I heard a rather intriguing story about you through the grapevine, that I thought was truly remarkable.
Akeem: Hopefully it’s not anything crazy, ha!
Reporter: I spoke with an old football coach of yours, and he told me that, your first season playing football with the golden hawks, you didn’t get a chance to play due to a medical issue, you weren’t cleared to play in any games, yet you went to practice every day, you put on pads in practice, ran conditioning, did everything that everybody else did, but when it was time to play the game you went into the stands and watched and supported your team. Is that true?
Akeem: aw man, what coach sold me out like this? but yes, that’s true. In every sport, you must go get a physical done just to make sure that everything is okay. Nothing out of the ordinary, you know, regular stuff. But when I went to get the physical done and get checked up, the doctors were checking my heart beat and I guess they found an irregular heartbeat. i wasn’t sure what it meant, I just didn’t quite understand why it stopped me from playing, I mean I’ve been active in sports since I was nine- ten years old, so clearly, I was fine. But yeah, he didn’t clear me to play so I couldn’t play.
Reporter: Most people your age would stop playing right at that moment, they wouldn’t continue going to practice, why did you continue going to practice knowing you couldn’t play? What did you keep practicing?
Akeem: Honestly, I learned more about football in that one year of not playing, than I did any year playing football. I think when your faced with adversity, you will be exposed to who you really are. Adversity creates your character, and it’s not exactly because of the circumstance, but rather how you respond to that moment that molds your character. I remember that night I talked with my mom, and she asked me what I wanted to do, and I told her I was still going to go as if I was going to play. Looking back at it now, I kept going back because that’s just who I am. Yeah it sucks that I couldn’t play, but my whole life has been a fight. You don’t give yourself a chance to win the fight of life if you stay down when you’ve been knocked down. You will lose every single time if you don’t try and get back up, no matter how hard you’ve been hit, you must get back up. It became bigger than football, I figured later in life I will have something on a way bigger scale that will set me back, and I’ll have to find a way to deal with that, I’ll have to find a way to get back up and keep moving.
Reporter: “You don’t give yourself a chance to win the fight of life, if you stay down when you’ve been knocked down”. I liked how you worded that. Because it’s true. What’s something else that you learned that year?
Akeem: Patience sucks!!. Man, that was hard for me. To go to every game and watch your team lose by a touch down or field goal, the whole time I’m thinking, “I know I could have gotten us that win today!” little thoughts like that, but I couldn’t change that I had to accept it and deal with it. Patience is something that we have to make an intricate part of our lives, 9 times out of 10, things don’t always exactly work out the way we think it should. It just won’t happen. And we must learn to be okay with that. Learn to take things for what it is, not for how we want them to be. This isn’t like burger king, we can’t always have it our way. I learned to be adaptable and the importance on taking things one day at a time. Everyday won’t always be good, but the goal is to try and have more good days than bad days. And trust me, adversity will test you to see how bad you want what you say you want. So, I suggest forming a marriage with patience among other virtues.
Reporter: Remarkable Akeem, patience is something we all need to work on including myself. Are you sure you’re not older than 24?
Akeem: Haha, I appreciate the comment, I’ve been through a lot of experiences in my life, I try and take something from those moments. Age doesn’t mean much, hardships doesn’t care about your age.
Reporter: You can say that again. Akeem, it’s always a pleasure speaking with you. It’s very liberating and refreshing for me every time we get a chance to talk, I wish you nothing but the best on the track and off the track.
Akeem: It’s my pleasure, and thank you again for the kind words, I always appreciate your sincerity. Means more than you know.