Bo Jackson: ESPN 30 for 30 Reinforces Greatness of Dual-Sport Star

Chris HummerAnalyst IDecember 9, 2012

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 4:  Former Auburn player Bo Jackson signals to the crowd at the start of the fourth quarter during the 2010 SEC Championship between the Auburn Tigers and the South Carolina Gamecocks at Georgia Dome on December 4, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Bo Jackson was one of the brightest-shining sports stars the world has ever known. But when you shine that bright, the light just dims all the more quickly. And that's what happened to Jackson.

He was a dual-sport athlete for four seasons in the NFL and MLB, playing football for the Oakland Raiders and baseball for the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox and briefly with the Los Angeles Angels.

On Saturday night, ESPN debuted a 30 for 30 film that highlighted the brilliant flash that was Jackson while also doing so much more. It portrayed Jackson as exactly what he was: near superhuman.

The stories told by those close to him, his rivals and even those only briefly touched by him were almost worship-like. They were in awe of what Jackson was capable of, and the anecdotes reflected that.

One story had him dunking a stick through a basketball hoop in eighth grade, and another said he threw a rock so hard once it almost killed a pig.

He's just an amazing athlete. He could hit a baseball 400 feet and then, only six months later, break off an 80-yard run in the NFL.

He was a one-time All-Star in the MLB and won MVP of that game. He power was prodigious, and his speed unrivaled in the outfield.

But where his skill was really on display was the gridiron. He won the Heisman Trophy at Auburn in 1985, and he was perhaps the most dominant football player of his era. He ran through arm tackles like wet toilet paper and punished would-be tacklers like no other. He was nothing short of a force.

It continued in the NFL too. His time with the Raiders was brief, but when healthy, no other running back was like him.

As it turned out, injuries were the only thing that could stop him. A bad hip forced him to bow out of the NFL after just four seasons, and the same hip forced him out of baseball after just eight years.

His time was brief, but immeasurable. And the documentary does that justice. The interviews are great, and Jackson comes across as honest to a fault in his answers.

It's a great film, and it's worth watching to appreciate an athlete whose time ended way too soon.