It’s not hyperbole to say that Bo Jackson is the greatest athlete of all time. The Alabama native was a Heisman Trophy winner, an NFL Pro Bowler and an MLB All-Star. Do you know who else has accomplished all that?
So, Bo, what did you enjoy most during your athletic career? Throwing a rocket from the outfield? Hitting a 480-foot home run? Running over and around people on a long touchdown run?
“It wasn’t anything that I did,” Jackson said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “It was the expressions on people’s face to witness something that I did when I was working. But to me, it was something that I had been doing since I was 8, 9, 10 years old. People back in my hometown (said), ‘That’s nothing new. I saw him throw an apple at a block and hit a kid in the back, so that’s nothing new. I’ve seen him throw, I’ve seen him run like a deer because my kids used to have to help chase him to get a butt-whooping from his mother because he was a runner.’ But the things that I did on the college and professional level was things I had done all my life. So it wasn’t anything new to me.”
Jackson, 52, is certainly keeping busy these days, but he’ll always be known best for his athletic achievements. Is it ever tough that so many conversations that people have with you are about your past?
“Well, it’s tough sometimes,” Jackson admitted. “The only time that I don’t tolerate it – because I don’t get that much time to have private time with my family, and I don’t have any time to hang out with my buddies, which I seldomly do anymore because of my schedule. Those two times, I’m sorry. When I’m either doing something outdoors like fishing, hunting or driving one of my old cars, family time, and when my buddies say come hang out with us for an hour or so – that’s when it gets to be cumbersome.”
The vast majority of fans will respect Jackson’s wishes, but not everyone.
“(Most) people will say, ‘I understand, sorry for bothering you,’” Jackson said. “But you’re always going to have that one or two persons that’s going to walk off and call you a butthole. But yes, you do every now and then. You come across that one person that thinks just because you’re out in public you belong to the public and they got the right to come over and get you to put your steak knife down when you’re eating dinner to take a picture, to sign something – or, worse than that, to take their phone and (have you) say hi to somebody that’s on the other end. That’s when you have to draw the line. But then you become one of the least liked people.”
Jackson, an endorsement icon who is still involved with Nike, was asked what lessons he would offer to young athletes from an image and brand-building standpoint.
“The only thing that I have to say about that is they need to (be smart),” Jackson said. “They need to make sure that they hire the proper people to be in their corner. Because you got a lot of kids out there that are these mega-superstars that got people working for them just because they want to be attached to somebody with a name (but) not (actually) care about that person. You have to also look down the road 15 or 20 years when you’re not playing sports. You have to carry yourself accordingly. I’m not saying I’m a saint, but I knew when I was in college that I got to keep my nose clean. I got to do the things I have to. I can’t embarrass my family, my coaches or my teammates by doing something stupid. You got to think about that. Because 10, 15 years down the road, when that corporation starts to look for someone and says, ‘Hey, we need to find somebody with a good name, a clean reputation, somebody we think is good enough to go out and advertise our product and our company,’ (you want them to think of you).”