Felix Neboh was initially surprised when the Black Cultural Council of Odessa reached out to him to be a panelist Saturday at Blackshear Elementary Auditorium.
Being called by the council was a humbling experience for Neboh and it gave him a sense of pride because he grew up in Odessa.
He’ll present scholarships and host a discussion alongside hometown heroes Roy Williams and Bradley Marquez.
All three panelists were former football standouts at Permian or Odessa High.
Neboh played for both schools and earned first team All-District honors as a senior at Permian when he recorded 24 catches for 530 yards and eight touchdowns .
He went on to play collegiately at UTEP and Truman State University before his football career came to an end.
After Neboh was done playing football, he had to figure out what to do next.
“Of course I wanted to play professional football, everybody growing up I’m sure they’ve had a dream like that,” he said. “When that didn’t happen, I kind of was stuck at a point of my life where I was like, ‘Okay, what’s the next step?’”
Remembering his affinity for TV shows like Law & Order and First 48, Neboh decided that law school was in his future.
After a month and a half of studying, Neboh passed his Law School Admission Test with a score high enough to get into several schools.
Today Neboh works as an attorney at DeAnda and Sarabia Law Firm in Odessa.
Receiving recognition for his post-football endeavors and getting a chance to help others feels amazing for Neboh.
“Just feeling that people would want to reach out to me for an event like this made me feel like the lessons I’ve learned from my parents and the way I chose to live my life is being recognized in a good way, and hopefully an inspirational way,” he said.
During the discussion panel, the topics the former athletes will bring up include trust, teamwork and ethics along with others.
Neboh wants to go into more detail about the importance of teamwork with attendees of the Juneteenth program as he considers that one of the greatest lessons he learned as an athlete.
His ability to work with different people to achieve the same goal has carried over from the football field to the workplace.
“I honestly feel like you could put me in any type of work setting and I could get along with just about anybody just because I’ve gotten used to that from being in locker room to locker room,” Neboh said.
Being able to sit on a panel with Williams and Marquez is a privilege for Neboh because he considers the former athletes iconic within the city.
Both Williams and Marquez served as an inspiration for Neboh because they were able to realize their dream of playing in the NFL after getting their starts in Odessa.
Permian graduate Williams went on to play for the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears after he graduated from the University of Texas, while Odessa High alum, and former teammate, Marquez played for the Los Angeles Rams and Lions when his playing career at Texas Tech was over.
The idea of giving out scholarships to community members at the council’s event excited Neboh.
He has been volunteering with local youth since he was 18, helping his mother Stella with any events the West Texas Track Club hosted.
Neboh feels youth is the greatest asset to the community and it’s important to give young people the opportunity to better themselves, no matter what their previous financial situation might be.
“I think it’s really important for the older people within the city to kind of make the youth feel important because they’re the next leaders, they’re the next people up in line,” he said. “We want them to feel inspired as much as they can.”
>>Follow Chris Amaya on Twitter at @OA_CAmaya