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Who Is Amir "Nick" Ekbatani? New Details About Kelli Tennant's Ex-Fiance

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Who Is Amir "Nick" Ekbatani? Details About Kelli Tennant's Ex-Fiancé

"I am no longer comfortable staying silent about the things that have happened to me," Kelli Tennant said at a news conference after filing a lawsuit against Luke Walton, the newly appointed head coach of the Sacramento Kings. Tennant is suing him for a sexual assault that took place about five years ago, when she was a reporter, broadcaster and host for Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA, and Walton was an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors. "When someone assaults you and you think you are going to be raped, coming forward is a scary thing," Tennant said, addressing why she did not say anything for five years.

The Kings said on Monday that the team is "aware of the report and gathering additional information." The Warriors said the team was “in the process of seeking more information.” Netiher team offered any further comments. The Lakers, which Walton coached for three years, released a longer statment. "This alleged incident took place before Luke Walton was the head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers. At no time before or during his employment here was this allegation reported to the Lakers," the team said. "If it had been, we would have immediately commenced an investigation and notified the NBA. Since Luke Walton is now under contract to another team, we will have no further comment."

Since Tennant has stepped into the spotlight, other details about her life have come out. One person in her past is Amir “Nick” Ekbatani. The two started dating in 2012, then were engaged in 2013. They broke up that same year. Who is Amir “Nick” Ekbatani? His story is both intense and inspiring.

1. He’s half Iranian

His Arabic first name, Amir, means “commanding.” He can speak Farsi as well.


A post shared by Amir Nick Ekbatani (@amirnick_) on Jan 31, 2019 at 9:05am PST

A picture of Ekbatani's father in Tehran, Iran, that Ekbatani posted to commemorate his birthday.

2. He’s an amputee

Ekbatani lost his leg in July 2012 while he was riding a motorcycle in Redondo Beach, California. A taxi failed to yield the right of way to Ekbatani at an intersection on the Pacific Coast Highway. He was 25-years-old. Even though he lost his leg, it could have been much worse—the accident nearly took his life. He told People magazine about the incident in 2017. “I was riding a motorcycle and a van made a left turn into me and crushed my left leg. It was severed at the seams. I don’t have much recollection of it, but I remember waking up in a hospital bed and being told that my leg had been amputated.”

He then underwent 14 surgeries; the bottom portion of his leg was removed, and the damage to his left femur refused to heal. It got infected multiple times. Finally, in 2015, his femur could bear weight, and he was able to use a prosthetic. “Be grateful for the second chance you get. We get one every single morning when we open our eyes," he told Polar in 2016.

Fitness has always been an important part of Ekbatani’s life, as a college athlete, but after his accident, he found a new calling. Other gym-goers were inspired by his enthusiasm and story in spin class, and encouraged him to teach classes himself. Now, he does personal training and group fitness in spin, circuit training and track.


A post shared by Amir Nick Ekbatani (@amirnick_) on Dec 25, 2018 at 12:37am PST

Amir "Nick" Ekbatani running on a track.

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3. He originally went to a community college

Ekbatani began his college career at Los Angeles Harbor College. He played football there for one season as an offensive tackle, then transferred to UCLA the next year. He’s best known for his three years as a starting offensive lineman for the Bruins. After his undergraduate career, Ekbatani tried to go pro. He was not drafted in the NFL Draft, so he tried out for the Rams, then based in St. Louis, in 2010. He didn’t make it onto the team.


A post shared by Amir Nick Ekbatani (@amirnick_) on Jan 20, 2019 at 11:36am PST

Ekbatani shares his support for the Los Angeles Rams before Super Bowl LIII.

4. He has an MBA from USC

Years after earning his bachelor’s degree, Ekbatani decided to return to college. He went to the University of Southern California after his accident. In March, Ekbatani posted about earning his MBA, and the support he received that helped him attend business school in the first place. “I got my MBA 3 years ago and am finally putting it to full use as an entrepreneur and investor. I am so grateful for that experience and for the continued personal growth I am enjoying because of what I learned and because of the many amazing people who I met while at @uscmarshall. I was able to attend business school because of Swim With Mike, who gave me a full scholarship and financial support during a time when I was completely broken: physically, psychologically, and financially. I endured over 12 surgeries during that time and was at the emotional rock bottom of my life but the community and purpose that my b school experience provided always gave me something to look forward to and something to fall back upon. I don’t know who I would be without Swim With Mike and I am forever grateful for this incredible organization.”

Swim With Mike is a scholarship fund for physically challenged athletes.


A post shared by Amir Nick Ekbatani (@amirnick_) on Mar 7, 2019 at 1:42pm PST

Ekbatani posing with his MBA.

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5. He won a $27.5 million lawsuit against Caltrans

Soon after the accident that nearly took his life, Ekbatani sued the state of California and Caltrans for negligence. Garo Mardirossian, his lawyer, said the state was aware of the dangers of the intersection from citizen complaints. Tennant testified in the case as Ekbatani’s former fiancée. “As much as I loved and cared about him,” she said, “the transition from girlfriend and fiancée to caretaker was difficult,” she said. “I had to say no to more job opportunities than I would have liked. I couldn’t travel or do events like I wanted to. It just became too much. I’m trying to build my career at the same time I’m trying to keep this guy alive. I just couldn’t handle it myself anymore.”

The Daily Breeze reported that at the end of the trial, Caltrans was to pay Ekbatani $35 million, but the jury found negligence was shared by the taxi driver that struck Ekbatani, so Caltrans was ordered to pay $27.5 million to the plaintiff. Interestingly, Ekbatani’s attorney Mardirossian is now representing Tennant in her own legal battle.


A post shared by Kelli Tennant (@kellimtennant) on Apr 16, 2019 at 4:56pm PDT

Kelli Tennant, Ekbatani's ex, posing in athleticwear. 

6. He's also an actor.

Ekbatani can be seen on Zac & Mia, a show on AwesomenessTV. It is based on a young adult novel of the same name about two cancer patients in Australia. The first season can be seen on Hulu, and the second season's trailer can be seen on Youtube.

Alison Cerri is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.