Over the weekend I kept up with the football draft for the Seattle Seahawks. There were some interesting commentaries on ESPN along with some documentaries about football greats. I enjoyed learning about Bo Jackson.
As a child Bo Jackson was bullied by the neighborhood kids, but he learned to protect himself by throwing crab apples at them. Soon he developed his arm for throwing. As he learned to throw accurately and more powerfully, the kids would run from him and duck inside their homes behind their screen doors. He threw crab apples through the screen doors. In high school he excelled in baseball and football. I liked the video because it had him telling his story about his past.
He was a fantastic athlete. He is the only athlete to be named an All-Star in two major American sports. He was named the greatest athlete of all time by ESPN.
Recruited by Coach Bear Bryant of Alabama, Bo's home state, he was told he would probably not be a starter until his junior year. Bryant also mentioned that the other Alabama school, Auburn University, hadn't beat in almost ten years . . . "and they never will."
When Coach Jim Dye recruited Bo for Auburn he promised a "starting" position immediately. Bo committed to Auburn. On November 27, 1982, Bo Jackson and the Auburn Tigers were playing Alabama in the Iron Bowl. With 2:26 left in the game, Jackson plunged over the top for a 1-yard TD run as Auburn (finished 9-3 in '82) pulled off a 23-22 victory over Alabama's Crimson Tide.
One of my prized possessions is a Bo Jackson trading card autographed not by Bo Jackson, but by rock and roll hall of famer Bo Diddley, whom I once interviewed at Factoria Square. It's a small world.
Bo Diddley had a good sense of humor, but felt ripped off by others (royalties and riffs). He played the Ed Sullivan show and supposedly defied Ed by singing two songs. Bo helped other emerging artists as well. Marvin Gaye was once his valet.
As I recorded som "B" roll footage I could see him scowling at me. As we waited afterward for our "Spud Goodman" interview, Bo confiscated a fan's recording of the last performance. We were next.
Bo knew who we were and that we had his permission. What drew his interest was my use of a 12V motorcycle battery powering my video equipment. He had the same professional video camera I used as his studio.
I remember riding the school bus in junior high with some of us whiter than white teenagers reciting some of the "insult" lyrics from Bo Diddley's hit Say Man:
Hey, looky here.
Where you from?
You don't look like no South American to me.
I'm still from South America.
Hah-hah-hah. Where your western boots at?
I've got 'em on.
Them ain't no boots you got on, them's brogans.
-- Say Man by Bo Diddley
I thought this hilarious. The previous year I was forced to wear orthopedic brogans.
Just picture a young teenager with jeans, a tee-shirt, white socks, wearing black horn-rimmed glasses and shoes like an accountant. I was trendy even then.
I was told I would always have to wear those shoes. I probably should have.
I have more memories of Bo Diddley than I do of Bo Jackson. They did work together once however. They worked on a campaign for Nike, which was supposed to compensate Bo Diddley for the phrase, "You don't know Diddley." They didn't pay and once more Bo Diddley lost out. The campaign was simply changed to "You Don't Know Bo." I can only recall seeing Bo Jackson play football once as he ran through, over and past Brian "The Boz" Bosworth of my beloved Seattle Seahawks.
The Bo Jackson interview brought back memories from years ago. Thank you ESPN.