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Shutdown Corner

Outside the Game: Prince Amukamara has a royal lineage that explains his name

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

New York Giants cornerback Prince Amukamara is a first-generation American -- his parents came to the U.S. from Nigeria, and his African heritage is something that he takes with him wherever he goes. More than that, the one-time Super Bowl champion has a royal -- and athletic bloodline.

His mother Christy represented Nigeria as a sprinter in the 1984 Olympics, and five sisters all have had great success in high school and college sports. His grandfather was the king of Awo-omamma, a village in the Imo state of Nigeria, and his father, Romanus, was the chief.

"Since I'm the first son, I get the title of Prince," Amukamara recently told Yahoo! Sports.

However, Amukamara never uses that to try and big-time anybody on this continent. If you want that, you'll have to watch "Coming to America."

"I would never do that, but when I say that my name is Prince, [people] ask, 'Are you a real prince?' I have to say, 'Yes, I am.'" Amukamara said, when asked if he goes around telling people his royal secret.

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The former Nebraska standout was selected by the Giants in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft and picked up a Super Bowl ring in his rookie year as his team beat the New England Patriots. Amukamara's parents weren't completely on board with the football idea.

"My mom doesn't like the constant hitting, like any mom feels," Amukamara said. "But they were happy with my decision."

Born in Massachusetts and raised in Arizona, Amukamara still feels a very strong connection with his heritage, especially in his culinary choices.

"My favorite dish is called foutou, or fufu,'" he said. "It's dough, and you dip in this soup. In the soup, there's leaves, chicken, there could be ox tails, there could be snails ... it's like a gooey stew."

Though he doesn't have any plans to take on the royal responsibilities of his family anytime soon, Amukamara feels a very strong identity to the place of his family.

"A Nigerian is who I am, and I always love to go back and visit. Do I feel pressure to be the heir and try to become the king? I'm not sure -- I'm still trying to figure out the NFL."

Well, he's got a better fallback plan than most.

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