Christian Okoye was nicknamed the Nigerian Nightmare during his all-too-brief NFL career because, a) he was Nigerian, and b) the man was as intimidating a running back as the NFL has ever seen. If it weren’t for a degenerative knee injury, Okoye could’ve been a hall of famer. But, his career was cut short, although he did make two pro bowls. Last night, Chirstian was cast adrift on Pirate Master, also prematurely. We talked earlier today about his time on the show, what he’s been up to since retiring and, of course, Tecmo Super Bowl.
Below you will find both the written transcript and the full mp3 audio of the interview.
First off, can you just tell how you ended up on Pirate Master, was it something where they contacted you or did you audition and try out?
No, somebody contacted me and asked me if I was interested to do a pirate show, so I went in to find out more about it, but of course details weren’t laid out, so I agreed to do it and I’m glad I did.
Have you always been a fan of reality TV, were you interested in doing stuff like Survivor, all the CBS shows?
You know, I wasn’t a big fan and of course when Survivor came out everybody watched it to see what it was all about, and I did, and one thing that I wasn’t very fond of was the lack of food part of it, but everything else was great.
What were you expecting going on to Pirate Master, how much did you know about what was going to happen?
Well I didn’t know much of what was going to happen but I knew that I expected to be on a ship, on a pirate ship, which where I was expected to jump in the ocean, swim with sharks, which I did and then I was expected to jump in the jungles, which we did. But other than that, I didn’t know anything else to expect other than just go and do it.
Did anyone on the boat figure out who you were, figure out that you were an ex-NFL player?
Maybe people on the boat kind of thought that I played football, but they didn’t ask so I didn’t tell them.
On the last episode, it looked like, or some people said, that you had some physical trouble on the treasure hunt, but we didn’t see much of it. What happened, did you hurt anything?
No, I didn’t hurt anything, what they said was that if I get hurt, nobody will be able to carry me cause I was so big, that was the excuse one of the guys came up with because he thought I was a threat to him, I guess. So he was looking for excuses and he came up with that and he was able to convince a few people to vote with him.
From watching the episode last night, was there anything that was edited out that you wish they had shown?
Um, I didn’t see the show last night so I’m not sure exactly what was shown, but the only thing is that some of the stuff the other cast members were concerned about with the captain, I had to tell him; I had to tell him the way he was running the ship because many people were not happy, so I don’t know exactly what was shown because I didn’t see the show last night but I was able to voice my concern.
Going into Pirate’s Court, how confident were you that you’d stick around?
I was pretty confident, I was very confident, but I guess the one guy, Jay, he worked very, very hard in convincing 4 other people to vote against me, because I believe that was my people voting so he had to get 5 votes, if you get 5 votes then you’re out so he was able to convince 4 people.
You mentioned it earlier, but the food situation was something you worried about going in; how did that work out, it looked like Joe Don didn’t give you much food at all?
Yea, yea Joe Don didn’t, he was filling himself, so many people were upset, but of course they weren’t upset enough to do something about it. Yea, it wasn’t very bad, but it was a concern.
I have to ask you about this: if there was a video game hall of fame, your performance in Tecmo Super Bowl would be in it. How do you feel about your video game legacy and did you ever play Tecmo Super Bowl?
(laughs) I have to tell you something, I do more interviews on Tecmo Super Bowl, I’ve done more interviews on that than anything else in my football career. Incredible. You know the worst thing is that I’ve never played the game, I’ve seen it but I’ve never played it, it must have been great.
The thing is there are a bunch of kids these days who can see video of your video game, but never got a chance to see you actually play in real life.
That must be it, because I’ve received emails, and I receive calls in my office, people talking about Tecmo bowl, and it’s, you know, I have to go out and play that game to see what they’re saying.
What have you been up to in general since you retired form the NFL and what do you have coming up in the future?
Well, since I retired I have one thing, I have my children foundation, which has been going on now for 18 years, well going on 18 years since 1990, you can find more information on that on OkoyeFoundation.org. And last year I founded the California Sports Hall of Fame, which we did the first induction ceremony this last January 29, and we’ve inducted 19 people including Magic Johnson, Tommy Lasorda, Bill Walsh, Tom Flores, Eric Dickerson, Marcus Allen, Reggie Jackson and so on. And you can find more information on that on CaliforniaSportsHalloffFme.org.
Yea, and of course I have my business, my nutrition company which is OkoyeFitness.com.
(Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl)