As a youth in Nigeria, Okoye played soccer and was a weight thrower and sprinter on his high school track team. He came to the United States in 1982 to attend Azusa Pacific University, where he played American football for the first time. He also won seven NAIA national championships in the discus, shot put, and hammer throw.
The Kansas City Chiefs chose him in the second round of the 1987 NFL draft. A 6-foot-1, 260-pound running back, he was quickly nicknamed the "Nigerian Nightmare" because of his combination of size and speed.
As a rookie, he gained 660 yards on 157 carries, a 4.2 average. A broken thumb limited him to nine games and 473 yards in 1988, but he was sensational the following season, when he led the NFL in rushing attempts, 370, and yards gained, 1480. He was named the American Football Conference's offensive player of the Year by United Press International.
A knee injury began to bother him in 1990, when he gained 805 yards but averaged only 3.3 per carry. However, he came back with 1,031 yards and a 4.6 average in 1991, becoming the first Kansas City player to gain more than 1,000 yards in two different seasons.
The knee injury recurred in 1992 and he was used mainly in short-yardage situations that year. The knee collapsed completely during the Chiefs' 1993 training camp in 1993, forcing his retirement.
Okoye is active with the Christian Okoye Foundation, which he created in 1990 to help underprivileged children. He also owns Okoye Fitness and Nutrition, a company that manufactures and distributes a variety of food supplements.
You can hear Christian Okoye teamed up with Vic "The Brick" Jacobs and Joe Grande during the football season on our Raiders Pre-game show.