Anthony “Spice” Adams admitted that many people are surprised to learn that he actually played football — let alone that he played at Penn State.
After his four years with the Nittany Lions and eight more between the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears, Adams is more well known these days for his personality on social media and his work as a TV host.
He currently works as a co-host for “The Great American Baking Show” and posts regularly to his various social media accounts.
Adams teamed up with General Mills’ Tailgate Nation, which landed in Happy Valley this past weekend and brought Adams back to the school for the first time in a few years.
“As a player, I never got the chance to do the tailgate experience,” Adams told The Daily Collegian. “ We always come here, we get on the bus, get off the bus and go straight into the locker room. Then after the game we would walk back to our dorms.
“So we never really got a chance to tailgate. General Mills has the Tailgate Nation, and we teamed up with each other.”
Adams said the tailgate provides fans a chance to take pictures with him, play games and get their hands on some good food.
“Fans can come out here and take pictures with me and high fives and all of that and play different games. They got like a two-minute drill where fans can win a $50 gift card to Fanatics, get some shirts, hats and stuff like that,” Adams said. “They can also come here and get good snacks. They got Nature Valley, El Paso, they got all types of stuff. Chex Mix. All the stuff that you usually eat is here.
“So it’s a good time, man. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Stuff like Tailgate Nation is exactly what Adams has grown his brand into after his playing career. It wasn’t exactly in his plan, though — so much so that he has a production company called “No Plan Productions.”
“It kind of just happened. I had actually went back to school to get my executive master’s at George Washington,” Adams said. “I thought I was going to do some type of business, but then social media kind of took off… That became where the checks started rolling in… I’m having fun, and I’m being myself. I don’t have to act like someone I’m not, and I’m having a good time.”
After his playing career, the Bears offered him a job doing a show called “Inside the Bears,” which he’s done for nine seasons. Then he got the job with “The Great American Baking Show,” and then he was on “Ballers” and on “Detroiters.”
That’s not to mention Adams’ comedic personality on social media, where he has two million followers on Instagram and over 200,000 on both Twitter and TikTok.
He may be best known for his basketball alter ego, Cream Biggums, who made an appearance at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game in 2020.
— ANTHONY ADAMS (@spiceadams) March 12, 2020
The character is inspired by someone you might find shooting around at the Intramural Building when looking for one more to make 10 players for a pickup game, and all you can say is “Man… come on.”
Despite being perhaps his most well-known internet personality, Adams said Cream Biggums almost never came to light.
“I set up my phone in my garage — I didn’t even have a tripod, I put it up on like a ladder — and I just started doing all of these moves in my garage,” Adams said. “I wasn’t even doing it on a court or against anybody. I was like, ‘This is so stupid. This is the dumbest thing ever.’ But that’s the stuff that goes viral. The stuff that you never think would go viral.”
The video sat on Adams’ phone for a good while, and he had no intention of posting it.
One night when he was watching the NBA Finals and dozing off, Adams decided to post the video then promptly fell asleep.
“I woke up to all these notifications from my friends. [They said] ‘Kevin Hart just posted your video on his page,” Adams said. “I’m like, ‘Come on, man. Kevin Hart is a full-blown comedian — a superstar. Why would he post my video on his page?’ I went to his page and sure enough, it was there.”
The video continued to blow up, and it wound up on other stars’ pages like Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Jamie Foxx. Cream Biggums is even playable in EA Sports’ “NBA Live 19” with a higher rating than NBA legend Magic Johnson.
The explosion of Cream Biggums more or less jump started Adams’ social media career, but it’s representative of the nature of the industry.
“It was more like a word of mouth type deal. People were like, ‘You got to check out this dude’s video. He does different characters and stuff like that,’” Adams said. “And it just started becoming like a snowball effect. But that’s how it is. Word of mouth is the best way to get the news across.”
While he admitted the social media and TV personality world is different from football because it’s easier on the body, noting his fingers that point in multiple directions, Adams said social media is a grind in and of itself.
“It’s a lot of work,” Adams said. “But I’m from a blue-collar town… being in Detroit [there were the] big three: Ford, GM, Chrysler. So I grew up seeing a lot of people just work and work and work. I just took that same type of mentality and did it with social media and football.”
As a Detroit native, Adams spending his college years at Penn State may be a surprise to some. Adams knew he wanted to get away from the state of Michigan before he even started considering playing football collegiately, though.
He was a basketball player for most of his life before joining the football team in high school. Shortly after getting started, a teammate asked Adams to attend a Penn State camp with him.
Adams’ mom found up the money to send him, and he took full hold of the opportunity.
“When I came [to Penn State], they told me to do some stuff half speed. I went full blast with everything. So by the end of the camp, they offered me a scholarship. At camp,” Adams said. “I just started playing football and then somebody’s offering me a $100,000 scholarship. So I’m like, ‘OK, yeah, I’ll come here.’”
In-state powers Michigan and Michigan State recruited Adams, but once he committed to Penn State, he shut his recruitment down.
James Franklin often talks about making Penn State a “four years for life” destination, and Adams has seen that pay off firsthand.
Franklin has reached out to Adams among other alumni who he didn’t even coach, and he’s made a connection with the entire Adams family over the years.
Adams acknowledged not all players on the Penn State roster are going to find themselves in the NFL one day. That’s why the job Franklin is doing has created such a “great relationship” between them, keeping Adams’ ties to Penn State strong to this day.
“I remember taking [my son] in the locker room when we won the Big Ten Championship. He was probably like five or six or something like that,” Adams said. “That’s how long Coach Franklin has been involved in my life and my son’s life and my family and everything. He didn’t have to do that.
“I think it speaks volumes of how tight-knit a group we are here at Penn State. He didn’t have to do that.