Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Bro You Should Know - Isaiah Mustafa


A wise man once told me to never trust a man with two first names (Where are they now - Mustafa Shakur) but I believe this is the one exception. Isaiah "The Boss Hog" Mustafa is an absolute legend in the making. Most of you may recognize him from his recent Old Spice campaign The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. Others of you may recognize him from his short stint as a Seattle Seahawks practice squad wide receiver in the NFL.

Mustafa's athletic career started at Santa Clara High School in California. Mustafa (who undoubtedly owns a medical flight school card) never actually played football in high school. He was a basketball player. Not a very good one though. Mustafa most likely spent all his dough on "special" brownies and needed a scholarship in order to go to college. How would he go about getting this scholarship? By trying out for a sport he never played, football. Lo and behold there was a college football team out there willing to take on Isaiah and his infinite talent. Enter Moorpark College (yes this is a real college). Isaiah took a short hiatus from the green plant and became a free safety, only to morph into a wide receiver. In 1995, Isaiah transferred to Arizona State University and became a starting wide receiver for the Sun Devils. Isaiah continued to start his whole career until he had an unspecified "confrontation" with his coach and was benched his senior year (my bet is that Mustafa's coach asked him to get him a special brownie since he had a medical card, but Mustafa declined). Yes, Mustafa did play on the 1997 undefeated Rose Ball team and he did catch balls from another bro you should know, Jake "The Snake" Plummer.

After graduation Isaiah decided he was going to become a high school teacher. This didn't fly with sports agents. They said he had a bright career ahead in the NFL and convinced him to tryout. In 1998, the then Tennessee Oilers signed Mustafa to the practice squad. That only lasted a month before he was sent to the unmistakable Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe. Mustafa did not get discouraged at this move. He knew damn well that he could be a NFL practice squad player and he worked his ass off to get back on the p-squad with the Raiders. After his short stay with the Raiders, Isaiah journeyed to the Cleveland Browns practice squad and then in 2000, ended up in the Seattle Seahawk's training camp, only to make it as a practice squad player yet again. Once Mustafa realized that he was in fact the best practice squad player ever to play the game, he retired from the NFL.

What would catch Mustafa's eye next? Owning a restaurant. In 2000, Mustafa opened a restaurant called Jo Jo's barbecue on Melrose Ave in Los Angeles. You heard me right. Jo Jo's barbecue. It closed before the year ended.

How can Mustafa become even more legendary? Did I mention he is an avid comic book fan? His knowledge of Doctor Doom's first name accidentally helped him win $47,000 on The Weakest Link for the first name of Doctor Frankenstein. He used the money to buy a lifetime supply of special brownies and to help him pursue his post-restaurant dream of becoming an actor. Mustafa proceeded to name his daughter in reference to a Batman character, Hayley Fitzpatrick. He also has dreamed of playing the superhero Luke Cage (which he has just recently been casted to do in a Marvel web short based on his Old Spice character).

Early on in Mustafa's acting career he couldn't buy a bucket. He played a bunch of small character roles on various television programs, including a one episode cameo on NCIS: Los Angeles. Mustafa eventually struck gold with Old Spice and has been killin' it ever since. He is currently in a romance with Kathy Griffin, the ultimate D-list star. His Old Spice campaign has also just recently landed him a role in Jennifer Aniston's upcoming film "Horrible Bosses". Mustafa also hosted the 2010 Funniest Commercials of the Year on TBS.

So yeah, Isaiah Mustafa is a living legend that should speak at convocation next year. 'nuff said.

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