Bo still knows… something new

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 14, 2002

From 1986 to 1994, Bo Jackson gave it everything he had on the baseball field, blasting 141 home runs and driving in 415 home runs for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, and California Angels. He made the American League All-Star team in 1989, hit a home run in the game, and was named the Most Valuable Player.

That would be enough for most players. But Jackson made history in another way. He became one of the few players in sports history to play two professional sports at the same time, breaking tackles for the then-Los Angeles Raiders from 1987 to 1990, racking up 3,134 yards and scoring 18 touchdowns (while at Auburn University, he had become the 51st winner of the Heisman Trophy). He also became the first person named to the All-Star teams of both sports.

Today, Jackson is still working hard. But this time, his numbers come at the office.

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&uot;That’s about all I do; work, work, work,&uot; he says, preparing for an autograph signing at the Farm Fresh Extravaganza at the Hampton Coliseum on Saturday. &uot;Sisco Foods sponsors my Bo Jackson’s Better Bar (a nutritional bar), and I work with Mrs. Smith’s, which sells homemade pies.&uot;

He’s also a partner in Ingenuity, an Arizona-based staffing company for disadvantaged minorities. He serves as president of the Sports Medicine Council, a non-profit, youth outreach organization of Health-South Corporation.

For so many years, people only knew Jackson as a great athlete. But events like the Extravaganza let him show a new aspect of his personality.

&uot;Not only do I get to meet a lot of people that have never seen me in person,&uot; Jackson explains, &uot;but this lets them see what I do outside of sports and in business. This is one of my ways of giving back.&uot;

During his time in the spotlight, Jackson was one of the most well-known celebrities in America – his &uot;Bo Knows&uot; campaign with Nike was one of the biggest in the history of the athletic company. But Jackson never forgot where he came from. Keeping a promise he made to his mother before she died of cancer in 1992, Jackson went back to Auburn and graduated in December 1995 with a bachelor of science degree in family and child development.

&uot;When people tell me I could be the best athlete there is, I just let it go in one ear and out the other,&uot; Jackson said in 1990. &uot;There is always somebody out there who is better than you are.&uot;

Even now, his modesty is still present. &uot;It was fun while it lasted,&uot; he says of his time in the limelight. &uot;You ride that wave for as long as you can, but eventually it comes to shore and you have to get up. I don’t miss it; I like my privacy.&uot;

He also considers his sports career closed. When asked if he would take a job such as a coach or commentator, Jackson hesitates.

&uot;That would be like going from the CEO of a company back into the mailroom,&uot; he finally says, soft but firm. &uot;No.&uot;