INDIANAPOLIS –“This is a show about inspiration. All those young Kenyans who have no hope, little hope or don’t think you can make it to the top of your game, tonight we have a young man, 24- years old, who has taken an entire nation by storm.”
Those words, spoken by Kenyan TV host Jeff Koinange, introduced a man who has influenced thousands of lives despite being in a totally different hemisphere and playing a game that is foreign to his homeland, and even to the player himself some 11 months ago.
“Success is not easy,” Adongo says to start off one of his answers.
“If it was, everybody would be able to do it and attain it. Everyone want to shine like a diamond but no one wants to go through that process to be sharp like a diamond.”
For Adongo, that arduous process began in earnest following a 16-hour flight late last July for his first ever visit to the United States.
Why was Adongo leaving behind a promising rugby career, along with family and friends, to pursue a game he had never been exposed to?
Because Adongo isn’t like everyone else.
Blessed with off the charts athletic ability, Adongo has the mental makeup to go with the rarest of physical gifts.
“I want to be like everyone else eat cakes, candy and just have a good time, but I know I have to sacrifice a lot of things in order for my ultimate growth, which is to be great and leave a legacy that will inspire and lead people to success,” he says.
As an elementary school student in Kenya, Adongo had the attention of his teachers.
They were curious as to why the youngster’s ankles were so swollen. Adongo explained that he was wearing ankle weights in an effort to try and get faster.
That speed and frame blossomed into a rugby star who, at the age of 17, moved to South Africa for rugby.
Soon thereafter, Adongo became the first Kenyan to play in the Super 15 Rugby League, the highest level of pro rugby in the world.
Now, Adongo considers himself an ambassador for his country of Kenya as he’s the first native to play in the NFL.
Call him a trailblazer, a maverick or a pioneer---whatever the title, Adongo knows many eyes are watching No. 56 of the Indianapolis Colts, and he welcomes it all.
“My success is not just my individual success, but a shared success among the community in that people will come now for the next Daniel Adongo,” Adongo, who has started a youth foundation in Kenya, says.
“I’m under a magnifying glass and I shall carry myself and present myself in accordance to how I want to be viewed.”