Vai Sikahema Biography
Vai Sikahema is a Tongan former American football player and television news reporter who was born on 29 August 1962, Nukuʻalofa, Tonga. He played running back and kickoff returner in the league for eight seasons, from 1986 to 1993, becoming the first Tongan ever to play in the National Football League (NFL).
Sikahema played for the Brigham Young University Cougars while in college, and was drafted in the tenth round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals (formerly St. Louis Cardinals). Before retiring after the 1993 season, he had also played for the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Since 1994, Sikahama has served as Sports Director for WCAU, the NBC owned-and-operated station in Philadelphia ever since his retirement. Deuce Lutui, fellow Tongan NFL player, is Sikahema’s younger cousin.
Vai Sikahema Family
Sikahema was born in the capital of Tonga, Nukuʻalofa. When he was 5 in 1967, the family traveled to New Zealand at great personal expense to be sealed in the temple. This was for purposes of Ordinance (Latter Day Saints) in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sikahema’s family stayed in New Zealand for three months until his father had earned enough money from shearing sheep to facilitate their return to Tonga.
Later Sikahema and his siblings were left with relatives in Tonga when his parents went to Brigham Young University-Hawaii (formerly Church College of Hawai’i). They made enough money to bring Sikahema to join them after a year of working at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
His family later settled in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix, in the U.S. state of Arizona. The parents were eventually able to bring Sikahema’s other siblings to join them when they got legal resident status. Vai Sikahema attended Mesa High School, where he played high school football.
Vai Sikahema Wife
Vai Sikahema has been married to Keala Heder since July 21, 1984. Together, the couple has four children.
Vai Sikahema Age
Vai Sikahema was born on 29 August 1962, Nukuʻalofa, Tonga. He grew up partly in Tonga before his family immigrated to the U.S. Sikahema is 57 years old.
Vai Sikahema Net Worth | Salary
Currently, Vai Sikahema makes around $325,000 a year as a sports director and broadcaster according to various sources report. Taking into consideration his earnings in this position, along with those earnings estimated to have been made during his football playing career, his net worth falls somewhere between $2 and $6 million.
Vai Sikahema Football | Eagles
Vai Sikahema enrolled at Brigham Young University in 1980, where he played college football for the BYU Cougars. In the 1980 Holiday Bowl when Sikahema was a freshman, he endeared himself to Cougar fans by returning a punt for a touchdown in BYU’s 46–45 come-from-behind victory over SMU.
He played the next season (1981), serving mainly as a return specialist, before leaving school to serve as a Mormon missionary in South Dakota for two years. At the end of the two years Sikahema returned to BYU in 1984 where the Cougars claimed the college football’s national championship and posted a perfect 13–0 record. Sikahema held an NCAA record for most punt returns (153) in a career by the end of his senior year (1985).
In the 1986 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Cardinals drafted Sikahema making him the first Tongan to play in the National Football League. He was a special teams standout for several teams, including the St. Louis/ Phoenix Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles. Vai Sikahema returned a total of 527 kickoffs or punts, gaining a total of 8,102 yards in 118 career games over eight seasons from 1986-1994.
In the 1986 and 1987 seasons, Sikahema was named to the Pro Bowl. After scoring a punt return touchdown in a 1992 game (Eagles against the New York Giants) at Giants Stadium, he came up with the famous “goalpost punching” stunt while he was with the Eagles.
Vai Sikahema Nbc 10
Sikahema was hired by WCAU in Philadelphia, then-CBS owned and operated television station, to do weekend sports upon his retirement. Sikahema later moved to weekdays after Surviving the station’s sale to NBC, to become a morning news anchor as well as the station’s sports director. The year 2019 is his 25th year as a fixture at the station.
Sikahema also regularly contributes a column, generally related to religion rather than sports topics, to the Deseret News.
Vai Sikahema Fight
Jose Canseco (former baseball player) challenged Vai Sikahema to fight him in a celebrity boxing match for $25,000. Sikahema accepted the open challenge in May 2008. While Sikahema grew up wanting to be a professional boxer and had fought 80 amateur bouts while younger, Canseco claimed to have earned black belts in Kung Fu, Taekwondo, and had experience in Muay Thai.
The fight, dubbed The War at The Shore, was held on 12 July 2008, in Atlantic City at the Bernie Robbins Stadium. Sikahema won by knockout in the first round and donated the $5,000 purse to the family of Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski, a fallen officer of the Philadelphia Police Department.
Vai Sikahema Hall Of Fame
On November 22, 2013, Sikahema was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame. This was in recognition of his contribution as a media personality.