Breaking through tackles and a whole lot more

Much has been written about Nnamdi Asomugha, a star player for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders – yes, the Raiders do have some good players – because of his talents on the field and maybe even more for his accomplishments and work off of it. He is a graduate of Cal-Berkeley with a degree in finance. He is a thoughtful and energetic young man with a commitment to helping others both in the U.S. and around the world.

CNN recently did a story about a meeting between Nnamdi and another talented young person, 17-yeare old Kenneth Chancey, who has battled through incredibly tough circumstances to achieve so much as a student and athlete. His efforts were so impressive that Nnamdi reached out to Kenneth to learn more about him and to invite Kenneth on the college tour Nnamdi organizes for promising teens who otherwise would likely not have the chance to do so.

You can find the full story at, with an excerpt below. We lead off with the video from CNN.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.4069050&w=425&h=350&fv=]


NFL’s $45 million man helps Skid Row teen’s college dream
By Thelma Gutierrez and Wayne Drash, CNN
November 26, 2009 12:08 p.m. EST

Los Angeles, California (CNN) — The high school honor student and the NFL’s highest-paid defensive back stroll down the destitute streets of Skid Row.

“I can sell you something right quick,” a drug dealer hisses.

Another shouts, “Gonna whoop your ass!” More expletives are hurled.

Seventeen-year-old Kenneth Chancey is giving a tour to Nnamdi Asomugha, showing the NFL star the streets that he and his sister used to walk to get to school while living in a Skid Row homeless shelter. Prostitutes, addicts and drug dealers scatter. “Camera! Camera!” they shout.

The two make it safely past the park, one of the roughest areas of Los Angeles. An orange soda whizzes through the air, nearly hitting the teen and the Oakland Raiders‘ All-Pro cornerback worth $45 million.

“Wow,” the teen says. “I’m sure they watch you every Sunday, and they don’t even recognize who you are.”

It is Kenneth’s inner strength and his love for education that have brought together this high school class president and NFL star.

“The thing I took away is how fearless he is,” Asomugha said later. “The things he’s been through are so big and so severe — they were threatening our lives and throwing things at us on Skid Row. But it doesn’t bother him.

“His potential meter is at 1,000 right now.”

Escaping through education

Even while Kenneth lived on Skid Row, he dreamed of attending Harvard to become a neurosurgeon. When Asomugha saw Kenneth’s story on CNN, he wanted to help.  He runs a foundation, the Asomugha College Tour for Scholars, that takes talented inner-city kids on tours of college campuses they otherwise would never be able to see. He’s helped get 25 teens into college over the last four years.

On this day, he’s come to tell Kenneth that he will be among the 16 students traveling in the spring to visit schools in Washington, D.C.

“I’m thankful to be able to give back,” Asomugha said.

Hours before the Skid Row tour, Asomugha traveled to Hollywood’s Helen Bernstein High School, where Kenneth is a starting running back in his senior year. They met at the school’s football stadium, where Asomugha told Kenneth in person.

(The story continues at