We’re so glad you stopped by for the second installment of our Spotlight Blog Series. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce you to a young man that I have known since I was a little girl, Emmanuel Acho. He’s a former NFL linebacker turned ESPN sports analyst.
Emmanuel’s dad and my dad served together at our local church in Dallas for two decades. Manny, as we called him, sat with his three siblings, and I sat with mine at the front pews of the church while our mothers worked overtime to wrangle all eight of us for the two hour stretches.
It was a chore! But, the memories are sweet.
Since then, I’ve watched Emmanuel grow into a tremendously hard-working athlete (Cleveland Browns, Philadelphia Eagles) and confident sports commentator. In 2019, Forbes listed Emmanuel as one of their 30 Under 30 honorees, recognizing him for his success as the youngest national football analyst for ESPN.
I’m so proud of my little brother and thrilled to introduce him to you. Enjoy his interview and then please leave a word of encouragement for him in the comments section before you go!
PS . . . His incredible family founded a non-profit, Living Hope Ministries, dedicated to providing adequate medical treatment to the people of Nigeria. To learn more about their ministry or to make a donation, visit http://www.livinghopeministries.us.
- If you could describe this season of your life in one word, what word would it be? Why?
Harvest— I’m going into my contract year at my job, ESPN. It’s only my fourth year at the company, and when I stepped away from the NFL and football (4 years ago), a game I had played for 2 decades, I never knew where God would take me. Contract years can be daunting, your company can choose to relinquish you of your duties, or extend you for many years to come. Thankfully in this season, after years of sowing, it is time for the harvest.
- In terms of your career, before you knew you would be _______________, you almost . . .
I’m not sure how to answer yet, lol.
- In what ways do you ensure that your career path serves the purposes of God and encourages His people?
This has been one of the most difficult questions for me to answer, both in writing this, and in answering this question in the quietness of my heart. My dad is a pastor; therefore, my whole life has been spent watching my parents in ministry. Their career is intrinsically built around the purpose of God. I have been in the sports world my entire professional career, so if I’m being honest, I struggle with this. Answering this question as best as I can, the primary way I ensure I serve the purpose of God is by being a good steward of what God has placed in my hands while on earth: the communities, finances, and resources. I also make sure to intentionally be a light in an industry that can often be dark, with the hopes of being an ambassador for the Kingdom of heaven at all times.
- Fill in the blank. I am not a very _____________ person.
I am not a very satisfied person.
I’m first generation American. My parents were born in Nigeria and immigrated to the U.S. roughly 40 years ago. I am the youngest of 4 siblings, and a relentless work ethic was instilled in me at a very early age. I saw my mom go back and get her doctorate while in her 50’s, so I told myself, there’s no reason for me to ever settle for anything less than excellence.
- Name your biggest strength and your biggest weakness? How has each served you as you’ve fulfilled your purpose?
My biggest strength is my strategic mind coupled with execution. It can be easy to create a plan, but the difficult part is typically executing that plan. Thankfully I am skilled at creating a competent plan and executing that plan, which I laid out. That has served me well athletically, academically, and occupationally. My biggest weakness is impatience. I am always trying to move at 100 mph, often times to my detriment. As a result, I expect everyone around me to move at that same speed. Strategy and execution have worked to fulfill my purpose because whatever plan I lay out for myself, I typically execute promptly. My impatience, however, often leads to frustration and causes discontentment between me and whomever I’m dealing with at that time.
- When is the last time you laughed so hard that it hurt?
I feel like I laugh to the point of an upper abdominal cramp at least 2 times a week! There are many downfalls to social media, but some of the pros are the immensely talented comedians and comedic videos that I stumble upon while scrolling through my social channels.
- What has been the most difficult season in your life? How did you get through it?
Going through 2015 predominantly unemployed was the most difficult season of my life. During the fall of 2015, I was released by the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFL team I had spent the previous 2 years with. I was devastated. I was now 24 years old and did not know what city I would move to next, nor did I know if I would ever play the game I loved again. I had broken my thumb, which led to my release and it all happened incredibly sudden. Everyday I would wake up and go on prayer walks, listening to Israel Houghton’s, “Hosanna” on repeat. I would walk and meditate on that one word, that one name, Hosanna, and by His grace I passed through that season.
- If you could make three wishes and there were no limitations on what you could request, what would you wish for?
Unlimited wishes…obviously! Haha. In all seriousness, I would wish for: a cure for all terminal diseases, joy for those struggling with depression, no more animosity among nations.
- If this were your last year on earth, what would you want to spend your time doing?
I would want to spend my last year on earth traveling and telling people that true joy is found in Jesus. I would also try to give away all of my money, seeing as I have no dependents to pass it down to.
- If you could tell your younger self anything, what would it be?
“It’ll all work out.”
I grew up at an all-boys school, St Mark’s School of Texas, in North Dallas. I attended that school from grade 5-12, where the expectations were incredibly high and the academic rigors were ridiculous! I could hardly stay afloat and every year I hoped and prayed I would make it to the next. I got offered a scholarship to play football in college, and many doubted my ability to leave this private school to play football at a Division I program, but boy were they wrong… and so was I.
*These blog interviews are designed only to be fun, informative and introductory. GB Ministries has varying levels of familiarity with each participant so their presence here does not equal our endorsement of or full alignment with theological doctrine or political perspective.