Kelechi Osemele Bought His Mom A House


When he was just a boy, Kelechi Osemele and his three older sisters would each brag about who was going to do more for their mother.

Osemele said that one day, he would buy her a house.

"They were like, 'Yeah right!'" Osemele recalls.

On Wednesday, that vision finally became a reality. Osemele bought his mother, Imedla Osemele, a massive six-bedroom house in Katy, Texas, a suburb just outside Houston.

"It's an area everybody wishes they grew up in," Osemele said with pride.

"Those were the two big things I wanted to do when I was a kid. I wanted to play in the NFL and buy my mom a house. That's what it's been about for a long, long time."

Osemele wanted to buy her a house as soon as he reached the NFL and signed his rookie contract. His financial advisor convinced him otherwise. Instead, Osemele purchased Imedla a Range Rover.

But now, as he enters a contract year and is primed to make big bucks as a free agent next offseason, one of the game's most underrated yet powerful guards decided it was time. The house in Katy was a little out of his price range, but he pulled the trigger.

"That's the one she really, really wanted. Next year I figure I can make it back," he said with a laugh.

"[My advisors] really wanted me to get a second deal before I bought a house, but I just felt like it couldn't wait any longer. It's really an awesome and humbling feeling."

There's more to the story than just a good deed. This is really a story in family bonding and forgiveness.

Imedla was very strict with her son. With Osemele's father often absent (he moved back to his native Nigeria when Kelechi was 3 years old to start a business), Imelda worked three jobs and had four kids to take care of. She would come back from work exhausted and testy.

"At the end of the day, her work ethic and her ability to raise that many children and providing for them went deeper than any petty emotion that I had towards her in the past," Osemele said.

"Even though she did hurt me a lot growing up, now that I'm experiencing things and gaining maturity, it just kind of came full circle."

A big reason why Osemele bought such a spacious house is so it can hold his whole family. He wants to figuratively and literally bring his family together and move on from their past.

Osemele himself still lives in a two-bedroom apartment in Owings Mills, just minutes away from the Ravens' training facility. Now he won't have to sleep on the couch when he comes home to visit.

Osemele isn't the only Ravens player to give back to his mother. Last month, rising sophomore guard John Urschel purchased his mom, Venita Parker, a three-bedroom townhouse in Odenton, Md., moving her out of an apartment complex in Silver Spring, Md.

"In the process of looking for something, he was like, 'I'll buy it for you.' It was out of the blue," Parker said. "[I feel] happy, proud, care free, mortgage free."

To save money, Urschel was sleeping on tackle James Hurst's couch for part of the offseason before the Ravens moved him into a nearby hotel. Urschel drives a used 2013 Nissan Versa hatchback that he bought for $9,000. That's high rolling for him. During his rookie year, he had a Honda Fit with a front bumper held on by zip ties.

"My mom raised me, she sacrificed for me and it wasn't always easy. She's the only mom I've got," Urschel said. "And Lord knows I'm not spending money on myself, so I might as well spend it somewhere. I figure that's not a bad place to spend it."

Urschel has long been inspired by Parker, who grew up in inner-city Cincinnati and was the valedictorian of her class. Still, she was told by her guidance counselor that she should get a job as a secretary. That was the ceiling the counselor saw for a kid in that tough neighborhood.

Parker walked across the street from her high school, enrolled at the University of Cincinnati, got a full scholarship and became a nurse. Like her son, she is also very good at math. She has a Bachelor of Science in nursing and a Masters in Biomedical Science.

"What she always taught me was that no matter where you are in life, no matter what your situation is, don't hold yourself to the standards of others around you," Urschel told inner-city Baltimore students in April. "Hold yourself to something higher. Aspire to something greater."

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