Who Are Ikem Ekwonu’s Parents? A Look at His Early Life

Who Are Ikem Ekwonu’s Parents? A Look at His Early Life

“I’m just going to do everything I can to be the best player, best person I can be,” Ekwonu said.

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Who Are Ikem Ekwonu’s Parents? A Look at His Early Life

Ikem Ekwonu is an American football offensive tackle for the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers (NFL). The Carolina Panthers picked Ekwonu sixth overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.

He is of Nigerian heritage and attended North Carolina State University. He was selected as a unanimous All-American and received the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the top blocker during the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2021.

The footballer has since come forward in his career and the glitz world of social media. Learn about his life, his parents, and what they say about their son being drafted.

Ikem Ekwonu’s parents are Nigerian immigrants

Ikem, full name Ikemefuna Patrick “Ickey” Ekwonu, grew up in the Matthews area of North Carolina and went to Providence Day School. A former coach gave him the nickname “Ickey” after seeing his likeness to running back Ickey Woods.

His parents’ names are Tagbo and Amaka Ekwonu, as per online sources. Ikem’s father immigrated to Charlotte from Nigeria in the 1990s and now works as a family physician.

Amaka, Ike’s mother, became a high school running champion after immigrating to the United States in the 1980s and now oversees T.J.’s family-owned business.

Ekwonu’s parents were both athletes in Nigeria. Amaka was a track sprinter, while Tagbo played college basketball prior to attending medical school.

Ikem has a twin brother. Ikem’s twin brother, Osita, is a Notre Dame defensive lineman. Tagbo and Amaka Ekwonu have four children, the twins being the youngest.

Ikem’s older brother is an animator and graphic designer. Ikem’s older sister is a medical student at the University of Chicago who hopes to be like her father.

Besides, his parents maintained a modest family in Charlotte. The boys engaged in various activities as children, but football was not one of them until they were approximately nine years old, according to his mother.

Although his family’s ethnic heritage is unknown, it is apparent that the family is close and supportive of one another’s careers.

What his parents have to say after Ikem ‘Ickey’ was drafted by the Panthers

“I think people see him on the field and use the word nasty,” Tagbo, Ikem’s father, said. He said that because the player plays with an “extremely violent demeanor.”

“But he’s really a teddy bear,” Tagbo continued.

His mother showed a photo of Ickey when he was around 9 years old and just began flag football, with a big grin on his face.

“He’s going around with the ball, giggling,” Amaka Ekwonu added. “That’s typical Ikem.”

Talking about the drafts, Amaka had stated that she hadn’t observed the pre-draft process well enough to predict where Ickey would end up.

She only wishes for him to be placed in an environment where he may “grow and flourish,” staying true to his given name, Ikemefuna, which means “my efforts will not be in vain.”

Ikem Ekwonu and his family will never forget the day the Carolina Panthers picked him in the 2022 NFL Draft.

They, like many others, expected the Panthers to choose a quarterback with the sixth pick, and he appeared far more likely to be a New York Jet or a New York Giant.

However, both teams passed, leaving the Panthers with a pick-six on the clock. And the night that followed was nothing like the Ekwonus had imagined.

“I’m just going to do everything I can to be the best player, best person I can be,” Ekwonu said after being drafted by the Panthers. “I’m from the area. I love Charlotte so much.” 

Ekwonu’s father, TJ Ekwonu, said, “I was just really excited, and we were cheering and hugging each other, looking at phone calls and texts and everything like that stuff.”

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