Dad Saves America
Dad Saves America
"American Ninja Warrior" Host Akbar Gbajabiamila's Underdog Journey | The Show

"American Ninja Warrior" Host Akbar Gbajabiamila's Underdog Journey | The Show

In a world filled with adversity, there are those who refuse to succumb to the role of victim, instead choosing to rise above their circumstances and create their own destiny.

Today’s guest, Akbar Gbajabiamila, has become a household name as the host of popular TV shows like American Ninja Warrior, The Talk, and his upcoming reality show, Fight to Survive. With his engaging personality and magnetic charisma, he ignites the spirits of contestants to conquer seemingly impossible obstacles.

As a first-generation American, Akbar's journey is deeply rooted in his immigrant upbringing. Raised by strong-willed Nigerian parents, he was instilled with the values of education, hard work, and finishing what you start. These principles shaped his character and nurtured an unwavering belief that he could transcend the challenges that surrounded him.

Guided by his father's wisdom, Akbar channeled his energy into sports, using them as a vehicle for self-improvement and personal growth. Through relentless dedication, he excelled in football, paving the way for his career in the NFL and broadcasting. Akbar's journey serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us all of the untapped power within ourselves to overcome obstacles and realize our dreams.


Purchase a copy of Everyone Can Be A Ninja: ⁠ Learn more about Akbar's work with The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research: Akbar on TikTok: Akbar on Instagram:



[0:00] Intro

[1:59] Make sure people say your name right

[5:29] Growing up in a Nigerian immigrant family

[11:12] Hard work was his family’s #1 value

[14:57] What does Gbajabiamila mean?

[16:42] Experiencing the 1992 LA riots

[20:33] Social media makes it tough to shield kids

[25:51] Meeting King Charles by selling salad dressing

[30:28] Akbar first loved basketball, not football

[35:11] The burden of trying to fix your parent

[38:01] How dads get devalued in our culture

[41:34] The unique superpower of dads

[45:54] How his Muslim dad and Christian mom got along

[48:42] Have conversation without confrontation

[54:13] Cultural politics affect playground politics

[1:01:04] Dealing with his dad’s Parkinson’s diagnosis

[1:06:15] A football career wasn’t part of the plan

[1:11:00] Akbar almost didn’t make it to the NFL

[1:14:50] Tell your kids that you’re proud of them, but not too often

[1:18:14] If you have no experience, you have to work for free

[1:24:46] Learning to host American Ninja Warrior

[1:27:15] Hosting ANW is about being a cheerleader

[1:28:55] Why Akbar makes TikToks with his kids

[1:32:19] Outro


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Dad Saves America is a channel dedicated to celebrating heroic fatherhood while teaching the next generation of fathers strategies they can utilize in parenting their children. We believe strong children come from a strong family. We’ve had many experts in the studio, including Jonathan Haidt, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Troy Kotsur, John Mackey, Ben Askren, and Adam Carolla.

Dad Saves America
Dad Saves America
Dad Saves America is all about celebrating dads and fatherhood. Fatherhood is the greatest opportunity to make a positive impact you will have in your lifetime. We’re figuring out how to raise a generation of resilient, independent-minded kids who are ready to embrace freedom in their future. Top experts and engaging personalities, including Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Adam Curry, Daymond John, and Jay Glazer, trade stories of childhood, parenthood, and all the issues impacting how we raise our kids with host John Papola.