#BHM Vintage Evening Eye Candy: Bo Jackson

February 21, 2014  |  
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Anybody else remember Nike’s “Bo Knows” campaign? Bo Jackson was everywhere in the ’80s and early ’90s because of his talent, and the fact that such talent was dominant in various sports. Bo knew football, but Bo could also kill in baseball. Hell, to this day, Bo is also great at archery. Jackson was named as the “Greatest Athlete of All Time” by ESPN, and while he’s been recognized often for his varying athletic abilities, did anyone else notice Jackson was quite the looker back in the day? As part of our vintage evening eye candy series for Black History Month, we decided to highlight Jackson’s accomplishments, as well as his good looks!

Nick Ut/AP

Bo Jackson was born Vincent Edward Jackson, the eighth out of 10 kids in Bessemer, Ala. He got the nickname “Bo” because his family described him and his personality as a “wild boar hog,” since he was always getting into something (including trouble). Somehow, “boar” was shortened to “Bo,” and the rest is history!

While his baseball skills were so good that he was drafted in the second round by the New York Yankees out of high school, Jackson decided to take his many skills to Auburn University on a football scholarship. While there, he still played baseball, but excelled most at football, winning the Heisman Trophy in 1985.

While gaining national attention for his accomplishments in football, Jackson was also so fast that he also wound up qualifying for the USA Olympic Track and Field Team with his time in the 60-yard dash as both a Freshman and Sophomore at Auburn. He could have went to the Olympics, but he decided not to overdo it.


As I said before, Bo Jackson had quite the body, and it was said during his career that he didn’t really even work out that often. In fact, he admitted in the past that he actually HATED working out: “I was always active—I went from baseball to football to baseball. I didn’t have time to work out.”

As I explained earlier, Jackson’s “Bo Knows” campaign for Nike was quite huge in the ’90s. He was promoting a cross-training shoe that many people thirsted to get their hands on.

John W. McDonough/SI

During Bo’s football career, he came out with a bang. When playing with the Raiders in ’87, he ran a record-breaking 221-yard performance and by 1989, he was having his best season, rushing for 950 yards. Sadly, a hip injury put an abrupt end to Jackson’s football career in 1991. But he did return to the game of baseball for a short while after having hip replacement surgery, and successful rehabilitation.

Alan Berner/The Seattle Times

After going pro in baseball in 1986, Bo Jackson had some successful years playing that particular sport too, including being the 1989 All-Star Game MVP and having four 20+ home-run seasons. When he would get frustrated, Jackson was seen using his massive strength to break baseball bats in half with his knee.

George G. Fry/SI

Despite his success in both football and baseball, once he finished playing both sports, it was important to Jackson to be able to go back to school and complete his education. In 1995, he fulfilled the promise he made to his mother to finish his education by obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Development when he returned to Auburn University.

Jackson was quite popular with everybody, including the media and celebrities too. He has been seen snapping photos with Michael Jackson (no relation) and even appeared on an episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, as well as an episode of Married…with Children. 

Sports Illustrated

Jackson is married to his wife Linda, his college sweetheart, and the couple have three kids together. To this day, Jackson is a popular figure, and he still tries his hand at a little bit of everything. In 2012, he successfully took part in “Bo Bikes Bama,” a 300-mile charity cycling event that raised money for victims of tornados in Alabama. He also owns the Bo Jackson Elite Sports Complex, and he even does his share of cooking gourmet dishes–Southern food is his specialty as an Alabama-bred brotha. Clearly, Bo still knows everything.

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