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Spice Adams is the NFL’s most memeable superstar

Spice Adams is the NFL’s most memeable superstar
Despite playing nine years in the NFL, Anthony “Spice” Adams has become better known as a social media meme and influencer than a football player. (Credit: Spice Adams/Facebook)

CHICAGO (BVM) – If someone has been on social media in their lifetime, chances are they have seen former NFL player Anthony Adams on there. How so? Perhaps it was as the rubbing hands together meme guy. Maybe it was when his laugh was used as a reaction to something. Perhaps it could have even been as his alter ego and basketball legend Cream E. Biggums. The likelihood is social media users have seen Adams somewhere, but how did this influencer go from little-known NFL nose tackle to meme legend?

Early life and high school career

A native of Detroit, Adams grew up in a singleparent household, being raised exclusively by his mother while his father was incarcerated. It was his mother who pushed Adams into football as a freshman in high school, despite the fact that the future NFL player didn’t want to.

This encouragement by his mother changed the path of Adams’ life. He became a solid lineman both on offense and defense for Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School and was considered one of the best players some Detroit residents have ever seen.

Penn State University

Given his strong play, Adams earned a scholarship to Penn State University. Adams played all four seasons for the Nittany Lions, earning playing time as both a freshman and sophomore as he registered 40 tackles, eight tackles for loss and a sack over his first two seasons.

Adams became a full-time starter as a junior, registering 59 tackles, a team-high 11 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks during the season. As a senior, he improved even more as he recorded 67 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, four pass breakups and two sacks.

Anthony Adams Penn State Big Ten Network
Apr 22, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Big Ten Network sideline reporter and former Penn State Nittany Lions player Anthony Adams attempts a field goal from the hold of punter Blake Gillikin (93) prior to the start of the Blue-White game at Beaver Stadium. The Blue team won 26-0. (Credit: Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports)

NFL career

Upon leaving Penn State, Adams was selected in the second round, pick No. 57 overall, in the 2003 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. As a nose tackle in the purest form, a big gap filler for the defense who is more responsible for taking up bodies than sacking the quarterback, Adams filled his role admirably.

In four seasons with the 49ers, Adams played in 58 games with 34 starts recording 134 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, eight pass breakups, six sacks and a forced fumble. In his four years in the Bay, Adams went from one start as a rookie to 12 starts in his second season to 16 in his third year. However, a switch in the defensive scheme in his fourth year saw Adams only start five games which played a role in Adams leaving in the offseason.

Anthony Spice Adams San Francisco 49ers
Adams spent four seasons with the 49ers totaling 134 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and six sacks (Credit: Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

In the 2007 offseason, Adams signed a four-year contract with the Chicago Bears. Adams would play five years in Chicago, where he played in 63 games with 40 starts recording 144 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles and two pass breakups.

Anthony Spice Adams Chicago Bears
Adams spent the final five seasons of his career with the Bears, recording 144 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. (Credit: Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports)

Following his release from Chicago in the 2012 offseason, Adams made the decision to retire in March 2013, ending his career after nine NFL seasons having played in 121 games with 74 starts recording 278 tackles, 33 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 10 pass breakups, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. Adams announced his retirement on his YouTube page, showing a glimpse into his future.

Retirement

The life of an NFL lineman isn’t a glamorous one. The players are typically used to help those behind them make plays and tend to not get as much attention in the press as their skill position counterparts. It is perhaps due to this that Adams has become more recognizable for his work after his playing career than during it.

Adams was always a fun, energetic guy even during his time in the NFL as evidenced by his pregame dancing routine for the 2010 NFC Championship game. The former defensive tackle decided to embrace the Internet and social media wholeheartedly beginning with his YouTube channel when he was still a free agent in 2012.

Through his channel, he has created a number of popular characters including the basketball player Cream E. Biggums and the singer Fat Wonder. Of course, Adams or “Spice” is a character in his own right, starring in many videos as himself or reflecting on life as an NFL player. 

However, Adams hasn’t just built his brand through social media. Immediately following his time in the NFL, Adams became a co-host of “Inside the Bears”, a Chicago Bears-centric postgame show airing on Fox in Chicago. He was also a sideline reporter for the Big Ten Network for a time as well. From there, Adams helped host “The Great American Baking Show” from 2017-20. Adams even made an appearance as Biggums during the 2020 NBA All-Star Celebrity game in Chicago.

Anthony Spice Adams Cream E. Biggums
Adams played in the 2020 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game as one of his characters, Cream E. Biggums. (Credit: Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Today, Adams can still be seen at Bears games alongside his former teammates and coworkers. He also is a co-host of “The Big Podcast with Shaq” where he works alongside Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal and Nischelle Turner. When he’s not doing that work, he is staying busy with his production company, No Plans Productions.

Even though he may not be as recognized for his NFL career as his media one, Adams doesn’t mind. Instead, like almost everything else, he turns it into something people can laugh about. Given his continuing popularity and growing social media presence, don’t be surprised if a new meme starring Adams pops into fans timelines in the near future.