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Athlete great, Vincent Edward "Bo" Jackson, was born November 30, 1962 in Bessemer, Alabama in a family of ten children. He received the nickname “Bo,” which his family members used to describe his behavior like that of a “wild boar.” Bo Jackson is an American athlete and a former multi-sport sports star. One of the few athletes ever to participate in two professional sports, Jackson may have been the best of all--certainly the best since the great Jim Thorpe.
At Auburn University, Jackson won the 1985 Heisman Trophy as the nation's outstanding college player. A 6-foot-1, 228-pound running back with speed, he gained 4,303 yards in 650 attempts and scored 43 touchdowns during his four years as a starter.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made him the first choice overall in the 1986 NFL draft, but he chose to play professional baseball instead. After spending most of the 1986 season in the minor leagues, he joined the AL's Kansas City Royals.
In football, Jackson played running back for the Los Angeles Raiders of the National Football League. In baseball, Jackson played left field and designated hitter for the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago White Sox, and the California Angels of the American League in Major League Baseball.
Although a hip injury severely impaired his professional career, Jackson was the first athlete to be named an All-Star in two major sports. Before his professional career, he earned the 1985 Heisman Trophy, the prize annually awarded to the most outstanding collegiate football player in the United States. He reportedly ran a 4.12 40 yard dash.
In 1989 and 1990, Jackson's name became known beyond just sports fans through the "Bo Knows" advertising campaign, a series of advertisements by Nike promoting a cross-training athletic shoe named for Jackson
Jackson became a popular figure for his athleticism in multiple sports through the late 1980s and early 1990s. He endorsed Nike and was involved in a popular ad campaign called "Bo Knows" which envisioned Jackson attempting to take up a litany of other sports, including tennis, golf, luge, auto racing, and even playing blues music with Bo Diddley, who scolded Jackson by telling him "You don't know diddley!" In a later version of the spot, Jackson is shown playing the guitar expertly, after which an impressed Diddley says, "Bo...you do know Diddley, don't you?"
Another clip, envisioning Jackson playing ice hockey, was followed by Wayne Gretzky shaking his head in disbelief and dismissing the effort with a quick "No." In his autobiography, Gretzky says his negative rejoinder came in frustration after multiple takes of him saying "Bo knows hockey!" that the director didn't like. He also said the bits showing Bo playing hockey were actually filmed on a wooden floor, with Jackson in stocking feet. T shirts sold by Nike capitalizing on their successful ad campaign had a list of Jackson's sports - both real and imagined - with hockey crossed out.
In a later spot, Jackson sees all the hoopla surrounding him and says, "I have rehab to do! I don't have time for this!", after which boxer George Foreman says, "But I do!" and steps in to finish the commercial, now re-dubbed "George Knows."
Following on the heels of this widespread fame, Jackson appeared in ProStars, an NBC Saturday morning cartoon. The show featured Bo, Wayne Gretzky, and Michael Jordan fighting crime and helping children.