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Barber, Tiki

Tiki Barber


Professional football player, sportscaster

Tiki Barber has set standards for professional athletes both on and off the field. Barber joined the New York Giants as a running back in 1997 and became one of the team's brightest stars. By the 2000 season, when the team went to the Super Bowl (and suffered a heavy defeat to the Baltimore Ravens) Barber played an important part in the offensive line-up. A former college sprinter, in his early professional career Barber's outstanding pace helped him disrupt the pattern of games in the later stages, but Barber, Tiki, photograph. AP Images. he soon became a key part of the Giants' offense. In 2005 he held the Giants career records for rushing yards (8,787), and rushing touchdowns (50), despite playing for a team that underachieved throughout most of his career. That year Barber also became the first player in National Football League (NFL) history to make 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in a single season; his total yardage was the second highest in history. Barber was part of the NFL all-star Pro Bowl teams of 2004 and 2005 and worked as a sports broadcaster for WCBS-TV in New York City, and Fox News. In addition, with his twin brother, Ronde, he hosted a radio show and wrote books for children. Sometimes described as "the nicest man in the NFL," Barber seemed likely to have a lasting career in the spotlight.

Known as "Tiki" since early childhood, Barber was born Atiim Kiambu Barber on April 7, 1975, in Roanoke, Virginia. He and his twin brother Ronde were born more than a month premature and very underweight; nevertheless they both grew to become strong, agile athletes. He attended Roanoke Cave Spring High School where he and his brother excelled at sports, but were also academically driven. A high-school valedictorian, he went to the University of Virginia on an academic scholarship to major in business. While he maintained his focus on his studies, Barber also became an accomplished college athlete; he broke the University of Virginia's long jump record on his first jump. He was drafted to the New York Giants after graduation in 1997.

Barber's career with the Giants began quietly. Despite initial worries about moving to New York he and Ginny Cha, whom he married in 1999, soon settled in to city life. Despite some success in 1997 the Giants did not begin to improve under the leadership of Jim Fassell until 1999. In that season Barber emerged as a major talent, catching 66 passes in the season and showing dangerous pace. In 2000 he and Ron Dayne forged a partnership that became central to the Giants' season. Known as "Thunder and Lightning" the pair led the Giants to the National Football Conference (NFC) championship against the Minnesota Vikings. They beat the Vikings 41-0 in a game Barber has singled out as the most memorable of his career. 2000 was Barber's breakout year as a running back, but the Giants' dismal performance against the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV was probably a more realistic measure of the team's underlying ability. Despite holding on to trail only 10-0 by the halfway point, what followed was a collapse that became one of the worst in Super Bowl history: the Giants eventually lost 34-7.

After 2000 the Giants continued to underachieve despite having what was then considered one of the most potent offensive line-ups in the NFL. It was not until 2004 that the team began to improve, but they still struggled to hold their own. Barber told Josh Elliott of Sports Illustrated that he found it hard being part of a struggling team, saying that "None of what I've done matters if we're not winning." In fact Barber had a great season in 2004. At an age when many professional football players begin to show signs of age, Barber turned in the best season of his career, was selected for his first Pro Bowl team, and led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage. It was a performance he was not expected to repeat. By then he had taken to running on sand dunes to protect his knees from excessive wear; and while he had no specific injuries, the question of how long he could keep going was a regular topic in interviews.

As it happened, Barber's 2005 turned out even better. He again led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage, and he took the Giants' record for the longest touchdown run (95 yards), a record that had been previously set by Hap Moran who managed 91 yards in 1930. He was also selected for a second Pro Bowl. The New York Post said in its report card for the 2005–6 season: "There was no way Tiki Barber (357-1,860, 9 TDs rushing, 54-530, 2 TDs receiving) could top last year but he did, by a mile. Broke into the superstar pantheon, quite a feat at 30 years old." In fact at 1,860 yards and 9 touchdowns rushing, his 2005 season ranked number 42 in the top NFL single season performances since 1960 and he joined the league's all-time top 50 for rushing yards. He also became the first player in the history of the NFL to achieve more than 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in a single season.

Barber is widely thought to be one of the best running backs of his generation, but he has also been active in several other areas. In 2004 Barber and his brother published a children's book together, titled By My Brother's Side, which the School Library Journal called "a sun-drenched childhood anecdote about perseverance." The autobiographical book tells several stories from the brothers' childhood and has proved highly popular. In early 2005 he appeared in an off Broadway play in which he played Duke, a playboy. The same year, again working with writer Robert Burleigh and illustrator Barry Root, Tiki and Ronde produced another volume, Game Day, in which the brothers play for the Cave Spring Vikings. While Tiki takes all the glory, playmaker Ronde seems to go unnoticed until the coach plans to have the ball passed to Ronde who breaks out of his usual blocking role to win a touchdown. Writing in Booklist, Ilene Cooper said of the book: "What works best here is the feel-good mood—the anticipation, the excitement of the game, and the thrill of victory."

Well known as a laid-back individual with a ready smile, Barber has prepared well for the moment when his career ends. In 2005 he told Sports Illustrated: "I'll try to play until I'm 33 or so, and then my body will say, Enough." By then he had already become a regular analyst on Fox News's morning show, Fox & Friends. In an interview with Men's Fitness magazine he outlined his ambition for when his career as a player ends. Asked to finish a newspaper headline "Tiki Barber of the Giants …" he said: "… makes seamless transition to any of the morning football shows. I want to be the next James Brown: the head guy at a desk talking football."

At a Glance …

Born Atiim Kiambu Barber on April 7, 1975, in Roanoake, VA; married Ginny Cha, May 1999; children: one son. Education: University of Virginia, BA, business, 1997.

Career: New York Giants, professional football player, 1997–; WCBS-TV, sports commentator, 2000; WFAN-AM-FM, fill-in host, c. 2000; Pro Bowl all-star team, member, 2004, 2005; Fox News' Fox & Friends morning show, occasional commentator, 2004–.

Addresses: Office—New York Giants, Professional Football Player, Giants Stadium, 50 Rte 120, East Rutherford, New Jersey, United States 07073.

Selected writings


(With Ronde Barber and Robert Burleigh; illustrated by Barry Root), By My Brother's Side, Simon and Schuster, 2004.
(With Ronde Barber and Robert Burleigh; illustrated by Barry Root), Game Day, Paula Wiseman Books, 2005.



Booklist, September 1, 2005, p.119.

Boys' Life, February 2006, p. 8.

Men's Fitness, November 2003.

New York Post, January 10, 2006, p. 77; January 11, 2006, p. 75.

Publishers Weekly, October 3, 2005, p. 70.

School Library Journal, November 2004, p.122; January 2006, p. 116.

Sports Illustrated, December 13, 2004, p. 35; April 11, 2005, p. 26.


Pro Football Reference, (March 7, 2006).

"Tiki Barber," Biography Resource Center, (March 7, 2006).

"Tiki Barber," ESPN, (March 7, 2006).

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Barber, Tiki 1975-

Barber, Tiki 1975-


Born Atiim Kiambu Barber, April 7, 1975, in Roanoke, VA; son of James "J.B." and Geraldine (a financial director) Barber; married Ginny Cha (a fashion publicist), 1999; children: A.J., Chason. Education: University of Virginia, B.A. (management information systems), 1997.


Home—New York, NY.


Professional football player and broadcaster. Played college football at University of Virginia; second-round draft pick of New York Giants in National Football League (NFL) entry draft, 1997; running back for New York Giants, 1997-2006. WCBS-TV, sports commentator, 2000; WFAN-AM-FM, fill-in host, c. 2000; Fox News, commentator for Fox & Friends (morning show), 2004-06; YES Network, host of This Week in Football; Sirius Satellite Radio, cohost of The Barber Shop, 2005-06; National Broadcasting Company, correspondent for Today Show and analyst on Sunday night football coverage, 2007—.

Awards, Honors

Named National Football League (NFL) Player of the Year, Sports Illustrated, 2005; named to NFL All-Pro team, Associated Press, 2005; selected to NFL Pro Bowl, 2005, 2006, 2007; inducted into Virginia High School Hall of Fame, 2006; Christopher Award, 2006, for Game Day.


(With brother, Ronde Barber, and Robert Burleigh) By My Brother's Side, illustrated by Barry Root, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Ronde Barber and Robert Burleigh) Game Day, illustrated by Barry Root, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Ronde Barber and Robert Burleigh) Teammates, illustrated by Barry Root, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (New York, NY), 2006.


Film rights to create a cartoon based on their picture books were optioned by the Barbers.


Tiki Barber, a former National Football League (NFL) star with the New York Giants, and his identical twin brother Ronde Barber, an All-Pro cornerback with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are the coauthors of By My Brother's Side and several other well-received picture books. The multi-talented brothers, whose off-field activities include radio and television broadcasting, have made literacy a cornerstone of their volunteer efforts. "We work essentially as spokesmen and conduits to get the message of literacy to the public," Ronde Barber told Suzanne Rust in the Black Issues Book Review. "Most people in the public eye are role models by default," Tiki Barber remarked to Publishers Weekly interviewer

[Image not available for copyright reasons]

Shannon Maughan. "It's something I take very seriously, because I know someone is always watching what I'm doing. One of my biggest powers is influence, even over adults sometimes, and I try to [use] it in the right way."

Born April 7, 1975 (Ronde is older by seven minutes), the Barbers excelled at both sports and academics at Cave Spring High School in Roanoke, Virginia. They decided to play football and room together at the University of Virginia, where they earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors their senior year and graduated from the McIntire School of Commerce. A second-round selection of the Giants in the 1997 NFL draft, Tiki enjoyed a brilliant career, becoming the first player to rush for 1,800 yards and have 500 yards receiving in a single season; he retired after the 2006 season. Ronde, who was drafted in the third round by the Buccaneers, earned a Super Bowl ring in 2003 and became the first NFL cornerback to register twenty interceptions and twenty quarterback sacks in a career. The Barbers were encouraged to enter the publishing field by editor Paula Wiseman, whose son avidly followed their careers. "It just so happens that the idea fell right into line with the initiatives and ideals that are important to my brother and me," Ronde recalled to Maughan.

In their debut work, By My Brother's Side, the Barbers recount a defining moment from their childhood that taught them about love and perseverance. The virtually inseparable twins must spend their first summer apart after Tiki suffers a severe leg injury in a bicycle accident. With Ronde's support and encouragement, Tiki makes a full recovery, joining his brother in time for their team's Pee Wee football league opener in the fall. According to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, the Barbers "give a warm focus to the family foundation they believe is instrumental to their successes and their lives." By My Brother's Side "will inspire those peewee football players out there who are recuperating from their own breaks," observed a critic in Kirkus Reviews.

Game Day focuses on the Barbers' exploits with the Cave Spring Vikings, their Pee Wee league team. Tiki, the squad's star halfback, gets most of the credit for his team's success. This leaves Ronde feeling a bit under-appreciated, because his devastating blocks clear the way for his brother's touchdown runs. The boys' coach has noticed Ronde's contributions, however, and devises a trick play that gives Ronde a chance to demonstrate his talents. "What works best here is the feel-good mood," remarked Booklist contributor Ilene Cooper, and a Publishers Weekly reviewer similarly noted that the narrative "is equal parts sunny reminiscence and inspirational game-day pep talk; the text sails along like a skillfully thrown spiral." Mary Hazelton, writing in School Library Journal, described Game Day as "an engaging memoir that touches on themes of cooperation and individual differences."

In Teammates, the brothers develop a novel solution to a vexing problem. After Tiki fumbles the ball during a critical possession, his coach notes the importance of developing good habits during practice. In response, the Barbers start a secret early-morning practice club, "leading to an ending that is believable as well as happy," wrote Booklist contributor Carolyn Phelan. "Tiki and Ronde have a warm, supportive relationship, rare in tales featuring siblings," remarked Rachel G. Payne in School Library Journal.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 57, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2007.

Newsmakers, Issue 1, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2007.


Black Issues Book Review, September-October, 2004, Suzanne Rust, "He Ain't Heavy," p. 60.

Booklist, September 1, 2004, Todd Morning, review of By My Brother's Side, p. 114; September 1, 2005, Ilene Cooper, review of Game Day, p. 119; September 1, 2006, Carolyn Phelan, review of Teammates, p. 116.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, January, 2006, Elizabeth Bush, review of Game Day, p. 218.

Ebony, December, 2005, review of Game Day, p. 30.

Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2004, review of By My Brother's Side, p. 909; September 15, 2005, review of Game Day, p. 1020.

New York Times, August 12, 1997, Bill Pennington, "The Barber Brothers Stay in Touch as Rookie Rivals with the Giants and Bucs"; November 29, 1997, Bill Pennington, "It's Barber vs. Barber When Giants Play Bucs"; January 8, 2007, David Picker, "Barber Leaves His Mark on Giants and Moves on to a New Career."

Publishers Weekly, August 30, 2004, Shannon Maughan, "Double Duty," p. 54, and review of By My Brother's Side, p. 55; October 3, 2005, review of Game Day, p. 70.

Sarasota Herald Tribune, October 29, 2006, Tom Balog, "Barbers' Final Meeting?," p. C3.

School Library Journal, November, 2004, Ann M. Holcomb, review of By My Brother's Side, p. 122; January, 2006, Mary Hazelton, review of Game Day, p. 116; November, 2006, Rachel G. Payne, review of Teammates, p. 117.

Sports Illustrated, July 23, 2001, John Ed Bradley, "Play Mates," p. 52; December 18, 2006, Karl Taro Greenfield, "Media Giant?"


ESPN Web site, (July 20, 2007), "Tiki Barber."

University of Virginia Magazine Online, (spring, 2006), Ben Cramer, "The Power of Two."

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"Barber, Tiki 1975-." Something About the Author. . 12 Dec. 2017 <>.

"Barber, Tiki 1975-." Something About the Author. . (December 12, 2017).

"Barber, Tiki 1975-." Something About the Author. . Retrieved December 12, 2017 from