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The Life of Bo Jackson

Bo Jackson is easily one of the top athletes of all time. Jackson, who played in the MLB and NFL at the same time, was a symbol of athletic excellence. Learn more about the phenom below.

Vincent Edward Jackson

Vincent Edward Jackson was born on November 30, 1962. He was given the nickname of Bo because his family said he was as mean as a “boar hog.” At an early age, Jackson showed tremendous athletic ability. He wasn’t just exceptional at one sport, or a few sports, but a whole lot of sports. He was excellent at track and field, baseball, and football in high school. He won track and field titles, threw no hitters in baseball and was a star on both sides of the ball in football. Jackson was considered a phenom in his home state of Alabama. Out of High School, Jackson was drafted by the New York Yankees. But he decided to attend Auburn University instead.


Bo Jackson was a standout football player for Auburn. He would win the 1985 Heisman Trophy Award for his dominant play at Running Back. Bo Jackson would enter the 1986 NFL Draft. His career in Auburn was illustrious and he was expected to be a star in the NFL.

bo jackson Auburn


Jackson would be selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1986 Draft. Before being drafted by Tampa Bay, Jackson made it clear to everyone that he would never play for the Buccaneers. In 1986, Tampa Bay was the laughingstock of the sports world. Jackson was also drafted in the MLB Draft that year by the Kansas City Royals. Since Jackson refused to play for Tampa Bay, he was able to enter the NFL Draft again in 1987. This time Jackson would be selected by a team he was happy with, The Los Angeles Raiders.

bo jackson Raiders

Juggling Act

Jackson had it put into his contract with the Raiders that he would be able to finish his season with the Royals before starting his NFL duties. His commitment to both sports didn’t seem to hurt his productivity. Bo was an all star in baseball, and a Pro Bowler in football. Bo quickly became a national sports star who shined in two professional sports. Jackson’s athleticism was otherworldly. His highlights were often jaw dropping.

bo jackson Royals

Bo Knows

Nike’s Bo Knows campaign helped to make Bo Jackson a pop culture icon. The Nike Air Trainer III was first made available in 1988. Bo Jackson endorsed the sneaker and his popularity in 1988 was massive. The fact that Jackson endorsed the Air Trainer III, along with Nike’s genius marketing, made the shoe a must have for sneaker fans in 1988.

bo jackson nike Bo Knows

Tragic End

In 1991, Bo Jackson suffered a career altering injury in an NFL Playoff game. Bo Jackson dislocated his hip and would need an artificial hip replacement. He would never play in the NFL again, and his career in the MLB would never be the same.


Bo Jackson had a short, but iconic run in sports. His career ended far too soon. It’s hard to imagine ever seeing another athlete like him, mostly because kids rarely invest their time in multiple sports anymore. Bo Jackson was a one of a kind athlete who never had the chance to reach the peak of his powers.


- Adam C. Better