Okocha was born in Enugu, Enugu State. His parents were from Ogwashi-Uku, Delta State, Nigeria. The name Jay-Jay was actually passed down from his elder brother James, who started playing football first. His immediate elder brother, Emmanuel was also called Emma Jay-jay, but the name stuck with Okocha instead. He began playing football on the streets just like many other football stars, usually with a makeshift ball.