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Bo Jackson: A True American Icon

1913 words - 8 pages

The concept of a two-sport or multi-sport athlete enormously filters the list of great athletes throughout history and, if used as a measuring rod, leaves us with the best of all time: Bo Jackson. “Bo Jackson is not known in Spain, despite starring in Bo Knows Nike brand campaign that remains today, the most successful of the multinational” (Williams). “In these famous ads, which have Jackson first playing football and baseball, two sports that are professional, he then tries his luck at basketball with Michael Jordan, tennis with John McEnroe, ice hockey with Wayne Gretzky and track and field with Sea and Decker” (Williams). The first ad was so successful that Nike decided to produce more ads featuring Bo Jackson as the “all-star athlete”. These new ads featured him playing and participating in cycling, football with Welshman Ian Rush, who are professional athletes, cricket, surfing, weightlifting, and horse riding. Nike used Bo Jackson’s athletic abilities to form a gold mine “The first athlete in history to be selected as an All Star in two different sports” (Askew). Bo Jackson’s work as America’s greatest athlete of all time shows him to be a representative of American culture because he changed both the American past times of baseball and football, he helps Alabamians with fundraisers that benefit tornado victims, he represents American strength along with persistence, and he set a new height to sports that still haven’t been achieved today by any other athlete. According to Martin:
“In 38 NFL games, Jackson averaged an astounding 5.4 yards per carry (by comparison, Jim Brown averaged 5.2 ypc, Barry Sanders 5.0, Walter Payton 4.4 and Emmitt Smith 4.2) A quick YouTube review of Jackson's highlight reel reminds us just how dominating Bo could be. (His most famous run, a 91-yard dash against Seattle on Monday Night Football his rookie year looked almost as impressive as his famous character in Nintendo's Super Tecmo Bowl.) The only player with two touchdown runs over 90 yards, Jackson was one of the, if not the, most electric players in the NFL during his four-year career. His college career was equally impressive: over 4,000 career yards, capped with the 1985 Heisman Trophy and a place in the College Football Hall of Fame” (Martin).
When having to choose between two passions, making a final decision is difficult. While at Auburn University, Bo Jackson had a dilemma to face. He was excelled at baseball and football and they were both equally economically viable, that the decision was too stressful and in result, he almost chose nothing, this was what discouraged him to continue with sports completely. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers provided him with an offer that prevented Bo from quitting, but Bo chose baseball. Being selected by the Buccaneers with the first selection of the 1986 Draft, owners of the Florida team offered him a trip by private jet, knowing that it was against the rules of the NCAA. “Angered by the trick that had been...

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