Bo Jackson was always one of my favorite athletes growing up. I had a pair of his Bo Jackson shoes complete with number 34 on them. I had a prized Bo Jackson card that featured him holding a bat above his head while he had shoulder pads on (pictured above). I was a proud member of “Club Bo” — literally, I have the sticker and shirt to prove it. Between his dominant football and baseball abilities, it was hard not to be in awe of his superior athletic abilities. Even though I was a youngster when Bo retired from sports, it’s nice to know I picked a good one as far as favorites go.
Bo has a completely different perspective from most collegiate athletes regarding the role of education in their lives. Reading his comments to the LA Times in a recent interview makes you realize that they don’t make em like Bo anymore. Check out what he said:
I guess you could say I was blessed to see what a lot of kids don’t. A lot of kids don’t realize the gravy train is going to come to an end. They have no formal education, no business sense, no money management skills. They just have to live with that.
I made it a point to learn as much as I could in college, especially because it was free.
I have nine siblings. We grew up dirt-poor. My mother raised us in a 675-square-foot house — three rooms, outdoor plumbing.
Going to college was unheard of. My mother didn’t have the money. When somebody said, ‘If we give you a scholarship, you could come to our university, compete in football, baseball and track, and we will pay for your education. Would you come?’ I said, ‘Hell, yeah.’
I always feel like I’m in the minority when the debate of paying collegiate athletes come up. I always stress how athletes on scholarship are getting a free education, which depending on the school can range from $80,000-nearly $200,000 in value. People try to shoot down that argument saying “we all know they’re not there for school” and how these players need to chase the money in the pros when they have the chance. Apparently that’s not necessarily the case. Take it from Bo — Bo knows sports, Bo knows business, and Bo knows the value of a college education.
Q & A with Bo Jackson, Mr. Know-It-All [LA Times]