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A Father’s Day reflection: Emil Ekiyor Sr. and Emil Jr. share special bond

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Father’s Day is a time to reflect, and one Indiana father-and-son duo is taking time to celebrate and create more memories together.

For Emil Ekyor and his son, Emil Jr., 2023 has been a whirlwind.

Just this week, Ekiyor Sr., the founder and CEO of InnoPower, led the annual INNOPower Minority Business Conference in Indianapolis.

Ekiyor Jr., 23, is an offensive guard for the Indianapolis Colts. He signed with the Horseshoe as an undrafted free agent in May.

The younger Ekiyor says his passion for football began when he was very young.

“My dad, (when I was) growing up, was a high school football coach at Warren Central High School. When I was 3 or 4 years old, I was out there running around! I kind of just fell in love with the game.”

Ekiyor Jr. carried his love of the game into his teens and was a standout at Cathedral High School. He signed with the University of Alabama as a four-star recruit and helped the Crimson Wave crush Ohio State in the 2021 national championship game.

He says joining his hometown team was a “very gratifying feeling.”

“Especially coming to Indianapolis, my hometown, and then being close around my family … I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.”

For Ekiyor Sr., it’s a chance to see his son follow in his footsteps.

Ekiyor Sr. had an NFL career of his own. He spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Atlanta Falcons, and Oakland Raiders. His lone season with the Indianapolis Colts was in 1998, the year Peyton Manning was drafted.

Now, he will get to watch his son achieve his own NFL dreams.

Ekiyor Sr. says he continues to guide his son through life both on and off the field.

“When he was younger, I wanted to make sure that I was preparing him as a young man, especially a young Black man, for the challenges of life and how you handle those challenges. It was a battle; we fought a lot of battles, but today, we have good, open honest conversations.”

Ekiyor Jr. added: “I agree, it was definitely tough. Even my mom…growing up, they were always strict on me about school, especially, and athletics — performing to the best of my abilities — and just how I carry myself. Even from a young age. dad always has something to say, but it definitely helped me in the long run.”

As his father looks to the future, Ekiyor Jr. does not forget how it all began.

News 8 met the family at Building Blocks Academy in Indianapolis, the school Ekiyor Jr. attended as a child.

“I think, coming to building blocks and the time you spent here, there was no doubt that this a solid foundation,” Ekiyor Sr. said.

Father and son have come a long away from those “tough” younger years. For both men, this truly will be a memorable Father’s Day.