Urban Anime Lounge had the pleasure of interviewing former NFL Green Bay Packer’s All-Time Leading Rusher, Ahman Green. But did you know that Ahman is also a Gamer, Content Creator, and Comic Enthusiast?
See how Ahman has managed to merge his professional and personal passions into one!
UAL: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Drop some stats!
Ahman: I was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1977. I was raised in Los Angeles, Ca. We moved to California when I was 3 and we lived there until I was 13 years old. We moved back to Nebraska in 1991. I am youngest of 4 kids on my mother’s side. On my father’s side, I’m one of the middle kids out of 6. I grew up with my mother and raised by my stepfather.
UAL: When did you get into comics and gaming?
Ahman: I got in to comics when I was in my early 20’s. I became a Batman fan by watching the TV syndicated Batman & Robin TV Show from the 1960’s. Then in 1989, when Tim Burton directed the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton, that sold me on being a Batman fan. The following football season of little league, I had my barber cut the Batman symbol in the back of my head. Once my coaches and teammates saw the Batman symbol, they started to call me Batman and that’s when everyone started to call me Batman.
I started playing video games when I was 5 years old. I had the Coleco Vision first where I played my favorites, Donkey Kong and Zaxxon. Then in 1984, I was the first on my block to have the Nintendo Entertainment System. I played Super Mario Bros., Tecmo Bowl and Contra all day long. This was during the time I started to play flag football. So video games and sports started around the same time in my life.
UAL: Which version of Batman is your favorite and why? (Comics, Games, TV, Movies, etc.)
Ahman: My favorite Batman is from the movies, played by Michael Keaton. I was 12 years old and made a big impression on me in my life at that time.
UAL: Who’s the fictional character most inspiring to you and why?
Ahman: The most inspiring fictional characters are Batman and Black Panther. I say both because they have had the same things happen to them in their lives. They both lost at least one parent, which they used to motivate themselves to protect the people of Gotham/Wankanda, and to make their home a better place. Black Panther and Batman fighting crime against the villains is inspiring for me because I feel there are some people that may need help because they can not protect themselves from the world we live in. Hopefully, I have help some people in need.
UAL: What’s it like being a geeky athlete? How would you identify yourself as?
Ahman: To be a geeky athlete is AWESOME! It is the best of both worlds. I get to do a lot cool things as a Retired Pro-football player. A lot of people know what I did on the football field, but when they find out I also read comics and play video games … my geek credit goes way up with them. Once I tell them what comics I read and then tell them the knowledge I know from reading, they think that is really REALLY cool! Sometimes, people are surprised that I know what I know and are impressed by my passion for comics and video games.
UAL: How many of your fellow ballers (past or present) are closet geeks? Do you guys ever get together post season and geek out?
Ahman: I know about 12 former and active players who are comic book fans and play videos games. This past summer, I had a chance to hang out with one of my teammates, Kevin Barry. He was an offensive lineman for the Packers. We had the chance to go to Comic-Con in San Diego. I could not get Kevin to do cosplay though, darn!
UAL: When you were playing in the league, did you have the latest Madden? If so, what was it like to play as yourself?
Ahman: When I played in the NFL, I always had the latest Madden. I thought it was really cool to play as myself on the PlayStation, and then, Xbox. The first time I played as myself on a console was when I was in college. It was on EA Sports‘ Bill Walsh College Football, I was in shock playing that video game for the first time. I could not believe it!
UAL: What’s a regular day like for you and how do you factor in time for your hobbies?
Ahman: A regular day for me goes like this. I wake up eat breakfast, answer emails then play video games and then workout. Once I am done working out, I make more phone calls and take care of any business items. Recently, I have been training my stepson to becoming a pro-football player as well. We have been training hard, so when he gets an opportunity, he will be ready to go.
On some days, I go work at the local comic book store, Power Comics. I am close friends with the owners. They have me come in and organize comic books – which is how I keep my knowledge up on all the latest comic news. At the end of the day, my family and I settle down, eat dinner, and watch a movie or TV series on Netflix or Hulu. Since playing pro-football, I have learned how create a weekly routine that I can have everything I like to do everyday. I work out, eat healthy, give back, watch movies, spend time with my family and play video games. Nothing gets better than that!!
UAL: What’s your favorite gaming console and why? And do you know about the greatness known as PCMR?
Ahman: My favorite gaming console is the Xbox One X. What is PCMR? I honestly do not know what that is. I Googled it too, I still did not find anything, LOL!
UAL: What are top favorite games to play?
Ahman: My top games to play are Halo, Madden, Batman Akrham Series and any RPG. I am currently playing Middle-Earth: Shadow of War.
UAL: So we see you’ve been streaming on Twitch. What got you started on Twitch? How often do you stream?
Ahman: I got started on Twitch because I thought it would fun to broadcast from my home playing video games. Since I was already playing video games most nights, why not do it? It just made sense!! I stream Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Saturday between the time of 7 p.m.-10 p.m. CST. My Twitch is called AhmanGreenTV.
UAL: How did you get involved in eSports? What would it be like being an eSports team owner?
Ahman: I got in involved in eSports by networking with people I met when I was still playing in the NFL. Once I was done playing, I reached out to most of those and connected with them. Also, I started going to conventions once I was done playing football. I started going to E3 and Comic-Con San Diego about 6 years ago. I have been to PAX West in Seattle back in 2016 as well.
Being an eSports team owner would be fun and hard work! The fun comes from the fact that I love playing video games, so my passion for it is unmeasurable. But there is a lot of hard work involved as well … which I am ready for it.
UAL: As an owner/coach, how important would it be for gamers to practice and have good communication among each other? How are arguments/disagreements handled between the team?
Ahman: As an owner, it would be very important for not only my gamers but also myself to have clear communication among each other. The better the communication, the better we can be as a team. We have not had any arguments or disagreements yet, but when that time comes, I’m ready to address the issue and then learn from the mistake.
UAL: What plans or major moves do you have for eSports in 2019?
Ahman: For 2019, I plan become one the best owners and streamers in the world. I am also the Channel Manager for True Game Fans Network (TGFN). TGFN is a brand new network dedicated to all things gaming and eSports. It will be the ESPN of eSports.
UAL: What advice/tips do you have for gamers who are looking to seriously compete at a higher competitive level?
Ahman: Advice that I would give to people that want to become pro-gamers is that you have to be ready to put a lot of hours in on the game you want to be the best at. Also, you have to have a physical workout program. I believe that being in shape, even though you are not playing traditional sports, you still need to take care of your body and be in the best shape you can be in. This will help with your reflexes and reaction time while playing video games.
UAL: We know that you frequent cons and cosplay as Batman. Have you ever considered cosplaying another character? If so, which character and why?
Ahman: Yes, I want to cosplay another character. I would like to cosplay Black Panther, Indiana Jones and Black Lighting.
UAL: What upcoming cons or expos will you be attending in 2019?
Ahman: For 2019, I will be attending the UGC Halo Event on January 11-13, Pax West 2019, E3 in Los Angeles and San Diego Comic-Con in July.
UAL: What has been your most memorable experience while attending a con?
Ahman: The most memorable experience was attending San Diego Comic-Con for the first time, which was back in 2009. Another time, was being able attend San Diego Comic-Con with my wife and one of my step-daughters. My step-daughter cosplayed as a Storm Trooper and an anime character.
UAL: We often hear about kids (and even adults) being bullied/teased/mocked for having interest in nerdy things. Being a public figure, do you find yourself facing any of these obstacles? How do you deal with it?
Ahman: I hate to hear about people being bullied or teased because of their love for video games or comics. Even though I played in the NFL and was successful at it, I had my run in with being teased or bullied for being different. As a kid, I was picked on because I was undersized, very quiet, and shy. Growing up in Los Angeles was not easy. I remember playing football in my neighborhood when I was 6 years old. I saw some kids playing football and I wanted to join. Some of the kids were my age and others were older, like 12 or 13 years old. Once I started playing, very quickly, I scored a few touchdowns. One of the older kids felt I needed to get slowed down, so he punched me in my chest. I fell to the ground holding my chest and crying. I did not understand why the 13 year old punched me in my chest. Maybe it was because I had scored those touchdowns and I was only 6 and smaller than most the kids on the field that day. I don’t know. After I fell to the ground, I crawled to the side of the field and got myself together. Nobody helped me get up… nobody asked if I was okay. So I picked myself up and got back into the game and scored two more touchdowns before I was done for the day.
I learned how to deal with obstacles that day. I learned that day that you will get picked on, beat up, and sometimes no one will help you. The next thing I learned was that I have to be the one to pick myself up, knock the dirt of my shoulder, and get back into the game. That is how I learn to deal with life. When life throws you a curve ball or a punch to the chest, you hit the curve ball or fight back and throw a punch. Figuratively, of course!!
UAL: If you could tell anything to help out a young person of color that likes sports and geeky/nerdy things, what would it be?
Ahman: I would tell a young person of color who likes sports and geeky/nerdy things to do whatever their heart desires, BE YOU! What I mean by that is, do not be afraid to like the sports you choose or the comics you read. To take it a step further, be confident to talk about the things you like with other people and those people who do not know what you are talking about. Don’t tease them, but educate them on the comic or video game you are talking about. Because if you tease them, you continue the vicious cycle of being teased and being made fun of, which never feels good, no matter how old you are.
UAL: Lastly, what can we expect to see from you in the future? Any upcoming projects?
Ahman: Mainly, continuing to build TGFN. Our goal for TGFN is to be the most inclusive network in terms of eSports genres, leagues, games and players we cover. We will host live events, shows, and leagues. Look for me to be broadcasting on Twitch and other networks throughout the year in 2019-2020.