Israel Abanikanda’s Parents Are From Nigeria; Their Life In USA

By AustinPublished on: January 17, 2024 Updated on: February 23, 2024
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Israel Abanikanda, the New York Jets running back, has left an indelible mark with his unwavering talents and skills. While his dedication and hard work have made him who he is today, his journey would be challenging without the support of his devoted parents, Saidi and Mariam Abanikanda.

Not only celebrity parents but Saidi and Mariam are also two hard-working individuals who have had their share of struggles. In this article, we will try to unravel their life and backgrounds while shedding light on their contribution to shaping the athlete’s persona and career.

Israel Abanikanda’s Parents Are Immigrants

Israel was born on October 5, 2002, to Saidi and Mariam. While the football star was born in Brooklyn, New York, that is not where his mother and father are from.

His mom and dad are from Nigeria. They were born in Lagos, Nigeria, his dad in 1963 and his mom in August 1966. They are three years apart. His father Saidi moved to the United States to attend Georgia Tech in 1984.

Israel Abanikanda's Parents Saidi And Mariam Are Immigrants
Izzy’s mom and dad are Nigerian-born.

Later, when he went back home to Nigeria, he fell in love with Mariam. The couple were in a long-distance relationship for a while but eventually moved to New York. The rest is history.

Saidi and Mariam Abanikanda Are Hard Working Couple

Given the New York Jets running back’s work ethic and dedication to American football, it should not surprise anyone that his mother and father are very hard-working. Despite their humble background, they have done all they could to make sure Israel shone like the bright star he is.

Besides, Saidi and Mariam were “strict” growing up, which the athlete is thankful for as it kept him “close to home and away from bad influences.”

His Mom Mariam Works Two Jobs

In addition to being a housewife, Mariam works two jobs, both revolving around providing care for people with intellectual disabilities.

Israel Abanikanda's Mother Mariam Abanikanda Does Two Jobs
Israel’s mother Mariam 

Besides, her kind nature is not limited to her work. In 2018, she created a fundraiser, asking for donations to the Alzheimer’s Association.

I’ve chosen this nonprofit because their mission means a lot to me, and I hope you’ll consider contributing as a way to celebrate with me. Every little bit will help me reach my goal.

Mariam’s fundraiser’s caption perfectly highlights her passion for the cause.

Israel’s Dad Saidi Is an Uber Driver

Despite attending Georgia Tech, his father is an Uber driver. It is unknown if it is something he does to meet his needs or if it is his primary profession.

Following Israel’s draft into the NFL, he promised his parents would never have to work that hard again. Considering how far he has come, he has likely kept his promise.

Saidi Is A Former Athlete

Like his son Israel, Saidi was also involved in sports while at Georgia Tech. He played soccer and was on the Yellow Jackets track team at the time. In a short while, he had made a name for himself as an exceptionally fast athlete.

Even though Saidi had no experience with football and knew very little about the game, he was asked to join the football team based on his speed. While talking to the Post-Gazette, the celebrity father said,

At that time, I knew nothing about football. I would just work out and do all the drills. They ended up putting me on the scout team just to see what I can do. I tried my best, but I wasn’t a special player on the team.

Saidi And Mariam Have Three Children And Two of Them Are Athletes

The delightful pair have three children: Michael, Deborah, and Israel. He is five years younger than his sister Debra. Besides, his older brother Michael who was born out of wedlock on September 1, 1994, in Lagos, Nigeria to his parents also gained prominence as a football player.

Israel Abanikanda's Parents Saidi And Mariam Abanikanda Have Two Other Children
Saidi and Mariam with their kids.

Michael played football in high school and college as a running back, wide receiver, and corner. His career also ignited his little bro’s passion for the sport.

At present, he is unemployed and actively searching for opportunities on LinkedIn.

Israel Abanikanda’s Mom and Dad Are His Biggest Supporters

By now, the roles his mom and dad have played in making him who he is today are quite evident. As doting parents, Saidi and Mariam have been by Abanikanda’s side since he began playing football at 4.

From driving him daily to Abraham Lincoln High School, where his skills were first tested, to always being present to watch his games, they have done it all. They also paid for his training and private workouts. His parents couldn’t be happier when Israel was drafted by the New York Jets in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Israel Abanikanda, His Parents Saidi and Mariam and His Siblings Wait for the NFL call
The Jets running back waits to hear his name in the 2020 NFL Draft with his family.

Similarly, they were quite emotional to see him play in the NFL for the first time. Furthermore, for his mother and father, the NFL draft meant Abanikanda doing what he was born to do, but for Israel, it meant he could repay everything his parents had done for him and take care of his family like they took care of him.

His mom and dad currently live in Brooklyn, New York.