Akbar GbajaBiamila is the host of NBC's three-time Emmy nominated series American Ninja Warrior, Universal Kid’s spin-off show, American Ninja Warrior Jr as well as NFL Networks' highest-rated show, NFL Fantasy Live.
The L.A. native grew up in the Crenshaw district with his mother, father, both who were born and raised in Nigeria, and his 6 siblings. His first name means “great” in Arabic and his last name means “big man come save me”.
Akbar played football for San Diego State all 4 years while receiving his degree in communications & new media studies. He then played 5 years in the NFL as a linebacker & defensive end with the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, and Miami Dolphins before retiring in 2008.
More recently, Akbar made his debut on NBC’s the Night Shift as well as hosted NBC’s 2017 & 2018 Red Nose Day and the Macy’s Day July 4th Spectacular. Akbar is also a frequent guest on the TODAY show, appearing more than 25 times in 2018 alone. He also co-hosts EXTRA! regularly.
Besides being one of TV’s most infectious and energetic hosts, Gbajabiamila currently serves as a board member for the Asomugha Foundation, an organization aimed at creating better educational opportunities for impoverished communities. Akbar 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 his own father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the late 1990’s.
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