Here’s a Christian Okoye Story
Last night, I noticed that former Kansas City Chiefs running back Christian Okoye was following me on Twitter. It reminded me of a moment a few years ago when I actually met the man known as the “Nigerian Nightmare”.
It’s about 2004 or 2005. I don’t remember which, but it was in the middle of the big poker boom.
My friend and I are headed to Harrah’s to play some poker, and as we enter the lobby and head down the hall, this guy in a suit jumps out of a room and asks “Hey, you guys want to meet an NFL legend?”
And we stop and ask “well who is it?”
“Former Chief Christian Okoye. He’s signing autographs just over here.”
If it had been like, Barry Word, or Vance Johnson or someone else, we probably would have dismissed him right there and kept walking, but Okoye was at least significant back in the day. Still, we both pretty much just wanted to get to the card room.
“We don’t really have anything for him to sign, though.”
That didn’t faze the guy. “We have some things he can sign for you. It’ll just take a second.”
“Is it free?”
Since it was free, we figured a detour was going to be fine. So we follow the guy about 30 feet to a conference room.
And then we just felt embarrassed for the guy.
At the end of the room was Christian Okoye seated at a table. On one end was a cocktail waitress; on another, someone who may have been his agent. And that was it. Nobody else was there.
Maybe it was the tail end and everyone had shown up already, but regardless, they had obviously expected a bigger turnout, as there was a wide ropeline snaking from the door to the edge of the table. Because of that, we couldn’t just walk directly to him (which would have taken a few seconds to cover 50 feet), but we had to follow the whole path, so it took about about a minute or two to walk up there.
When you’re in an empty, quiet room, waiting, two minutes can be an eternity.
The whole time he’s just watching these two dopey guys maneuver through these ropes, possibly reminded that he was a long way from 1990.
We finally reach the table. He shakes my friend’s hand and signs a deck of cards. Then I shake his hand and he signs a deck for me.
“Thanks for coming out guys,” he said.
“You were awesome on Tecmo,” I said.
I’m sorry Christian Okoye.