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Respek it: The Chelsea Player Formerly Known as John Obi Mikel Has Changed His Name

We had it all wrong.

His name wasn’t Mikel in the first place. According to the London Evening Standard, the Chelsea midfielder was born John Michael Nchekwube Obinna. In Igbo translation, Nchekwube means “hope.” And Obi which is a nickname for Obinna says “father’s heart.”

He became Mikel when a mistake was made on his submission form for the 2003 FIFA Under-17 World Championships. However, he chose to keep the name because it had a “special ring to it.” I have no arguments. The name just rolls off the tongue.

But, in 2006, he said he prefers to be called Mikel John Obi instead of John Obi Mikel. Apparently, his plea was ignored by fans and media. This time, as he prepares to represent Nigeria in Rio, he has made it official that Mikel is his given name.

Obi is a two-time Premier League champion, four-time FA Cup champion, and a  two-time League Cup champion. Also, he has won the Europa League and the Champions League. So put some “respek” on his name.

In James Bond speak, the name is Obi. Mikel John Obi.


Photo Credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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