NDO Champ on his childhood in America: “Every day is an ambush.”
NDO Champ is a bodybuilder with an incredible history. He was a child of the Liberian Civil War and immigrated to America at a young age to escape the dangers of the war. Champ believed he would find great success there that he could bring back to his friends and family in Liberia. Instead what he found was a new set of problems and traumas. In our latest GI Exclusive interview, NDO Champ details escaping the Liberian civil war only to find newfound struggles and horrors in America.
NDO Champ’s journey to becoming a pro bodybuilder was a long and hard one. We had previously recounted his journey from prison to becoming a successful bodybuilder. But before his prison sentence, he had a different journey full of incredible strife and struggles.
NDO Champ was born in Liberia which soon after went into a civil war during his early youth. It became so violent that his grandfather took his mother and children to America for safety. What NDO found in America was a new set of problems. Growing up in Brooklyn, NY poor, he had to fight to survive and learn the culture of America.
Being from Africa, he faced prejudice that tried to set him back every single day of his childhood. He describes Brooklyn during his childhood as another war zone. It was as if he left one war zone only to struggle through another one. He got his clothes from garbage bags – donations from a nearby church. He would be bullied for what he wore. He would even be harassed and threatened for accidentally dressing in the colors of prominent gangs in the area.
NDO Champ continued to persevere. He had to get a job to help support his family. He eventually found work at a fast food restaurant. After going to school and working a full time shift for days, he finally received his first paycheck.
But before he could cash it, he was randomly arrested by police officers on the street. The reason? For selling and carrying marijuana. Only NDO Champ wasn’t selling drugs. He didn’t even smoke weed. Instead, the police officers planted a giant bag of marijuana on his person and sent him to jail.
Eventually, NDO Champ earned freedom due to a lack of substantial evidence. But upon getting out of jail, his check was gone, his clothes were gone, and he had been fired from his job.
It was at this point that NDO Champ fell into a bad crowd. If he was going to get falsely arrested for selling drugs, he might as well start actually doing it to earn a better living. This started a dark period of NDO’s early life in New York City. One that would ultimately lead to him getting shot in the leg and also being arrested again.
Upon being released from prison, he discovered bodybuilding and went on a new life path. Thirteen years after arriving in America, he earned and cashed his first paycheck. He now dedicates his time to bodybuilding, boxing, and giving back to the youth.
You can watch NDO Champ explain his entire past in our latest GI Exclusive interview segment above.