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Kings of Camelot: Jesse Sapolu

Apr 17, 2022 at 6:34 PM--

A quick look around today's NFL and it is easy to see that Polynesian-born players are impacting rosters across the league. One of the names largely responsible for the influx and staying power of these players is none other than 49er legend, Jesse Sapolu, who we will feature in this edition of the Kings of Camelot.

Jesse Sapolu was born in Apia, Samoa in 1961. Sapolu would later move to Hawaii where he would go on to star at Farrington High School before a four-year career at the University of Hawaii. The 49ers selected Sapolu in the 11th round with the 289th pick of the 1983 draft. Sapolu anchored the 49er's offensive line and played in four Super Bowl championships during his 15-year career, playing exclusively with the 49ers.

Sapolu was a two-time Pro Bowler ('93 & '94) as well as a two-time All-Pro ('94 & '95) during his playing career. A career that overlapped both the end of the Joe Montana era and the vast majority of the Steve Young era. During his tenure, Sapolu was a two-time recipient of the Bob McKittrick Award, given to the organization's offensive lineman who exemplifies the courage, intensity and sacrifice of the teams legendary offensive line coach of 21 years. Sapolu also won the team's Garry Nivers Award and Ed Block Courage award before retiring in 1997.

Having four Super Bowls on your résumé would likely be the greatest accomplishment for any former NFL player. In the case of Jesse Sapolu, his greatest accomplishment is likely being the co-founder of the Polynesian Pro Football Hall of Fame. Sapolu, along with Ma'a Tanuvasa, created the Polynesian Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013 to honor the greatest players, coaches, and contributors who are of Polynesian heritage. Sapolu was selected to the Polynesian Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2014 class. Today, Sapolu is still giving to the game of football as he owns and operates the Jesse Sapolu Men In The Trenches Academy where he teaches the nuances of the offensive and defensive lines to players of all ages throughout both northern and southern California.

For all Jesse Sapolu has done on the field as a member of the 49ers and his work in the Polynesian football community, we salute him as a true King of Camelot.


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