From NFL to Netflix, Anthony Alabi’s Most Important Role is Family Man

Anthony Alabi is no stranger to your TV screen. Whether in his past life as a Miami Dolphin or Kansas City Chief, or with his current status of Family Reunion’s Moz or Raven’s Home’s Coach Spitz, Alabi has definitely graced your screen at one point or another.

Fresh off the heels of his successful Netflix series, Family Reunion, Alabi will now be coming to Chicago to bring a new character to the hit show, Shameless. We had the chance to speak with the actor, former-NFL player, and, most of all, husband and father, about his varied and exciting career.

The Tidbit: Tell us about your new show Family Reunion? How has your life changed since joining this series?

Anthony Alabi: Family Reunion is a nostalgic traditional family sitcom that has been updated with the relevant topics of our time. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, and it will move you. 

Life is just more chaotic now, but in the best way. My wife, Caroline, and I always say it’s the best kind of crazy trying to balance kids, career, hobbies and each other. I think we do a great job of dedicating time to each of those things because they are all a priority. 

TT: How did you make the switch from NFL football player to actor? Was acting something that has always been part of your life?

AA: I always wanted to be an actor since I was a kid. My father used to take us to the movie theater on Sundays and we spent all day there. I always wanted to be what I saw on the screen, and he explained to me that that is what an actor is. Once I heard that I laid up and never wanted to do anything else. But, I grew up in Texas, and when you’re 6-foot-6 and 360 pounds, you play football. So I decided to make football work for me. Once I had enough seasons under my belt to retire, I moved to California and started from the bottom.

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Anthony Alabi (Photos courtesy of Diana Ragland)

TT: You recently joined the cast of the fan-favorite, Shameless. Where does your character fit into the Gallagher world?

AA: I play the character Mavar, who is a kind of a mentor to Liam Gallagher. He feels a bit lost because he lives with a family of degenerates and he’s the only black person around besides V. My job is to teach him how to be black in America and how to navigate his current situation in life. 

TT: Athletic and artistic, are there other talents/hobbies that fans may not know about? 

AA: [Laughs] I’d say it’s more of a personality trait, but I’m quite a nerd when it comes to Sci-Fi. My wife laughed at me because I love anything Star Trek, but now she’s totally into it. Watching Star Trek: Discovery is something we now share and she gets why I’m obsessed with the show. Other than that my beautiful babies are what take up most of my time. 

TT: What advice do you have for people who want to follow their passions?

AA: I say leap. A lot of times habits are stronger than love or passion. Find out what lights you up inside and pursue it 1000 mph. Be stubborn in your efforts and never allow others to dictate your path. Bet on you and you’ll never go wrong.

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