Saturday, March 2, 2013

30 for 30: You don't Know Bo

ESPN 30 for 30 has a great piece on Bo Jackson, "You don't Know Bo."  The film details Bo's brief, but mythic careers in baseball & football.  This film is Pure Sports Nostalgia Greatness.  You'd think Bo Jackson was the inventor of the Sportscenter Top 10, what used to be the "Plays of the Week."  Director Michael Bonfiglio commentates during breaks in the film, detailing his choices and reasoning.  "I wanted to present Bo Jackson as this Superhero figure."  Bonfiglio does just that.  Crazy thing is at the time that's exactly how people viewed Bo.  The Nike commercials added to the mythology of Jackson and serve as a mirror for the present state of Branded Culture we live in.  Professional Athletes & Clothing Brands amalgamated in the 80s, lifting Nike into the stratosphere of Fortune Companies, thanks to guys like Mike & Bo.  Not many people can say they've never heard of Michael Jordan or Bo Jackson or better yet never owned a pair of Nike's.

I was just becoming a sports fan when Bo Jackson's career was coming to an end, so I was really transfixed by this film.  I knew about Bo from friends and from the Nike commercial, but I never saw him play except for with the White Sox.  I felt almost as if I missed a major cultural happening while seeing the footage of him in Kansas City and with the Raiders.  The film illustrates Bo being more than just sports.  Bo was a once in a lifetime athlete who possessed skills even Michael Jordan had to envy.  Imagine being a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame.  How ridiculous is that?  That's exactly where Bo Jackson was headed.

And think about watching Bo Jackson run the 40 @ the NFL Combine today.  The Headline would be on every Web page and Newspaper: BO JACKSON RUNS 4.12 40-YARD DASH!!!!!  The Baseball Story would of course be very skeptical and negative.  No one would believe he wasn't on HGH.  Infact, if Bo Jackson began his pro career now, he might be the reason Pro Sports mandate testing for HGH.  His abilities were literally unbelievable.  That throw he made from Left Field in the Kingdome to gun down Harold Reynolds was Cyborg-Like.  His diving catches were more like Gymnastic Maneuvers.  Bo beat out ground balls to 2nd base no player ever did before.  NO PLAYER EVER.  And then he was gone.

The tackle that broke Bo's hip was done by Kevin Walker of the Cincinatti Bengals.  The play is the antithesis & the destruction of Bo Jackson's pro career.  Though you'd never know it from watching it.  The only noticeable, alarming image from the play is an abrupt jerk and hyperextension of Bo's lower left side.  The replay is not gruesome, but it does make possible injury apparent.  A simple summation: It just didn't look right.  Bo's left hip could not withstand the negative force placed on his right side, while his left leg broke free and continued to gallop.  The Negative force placed on his right side from the tackle, coupled with the awkward angle & immense left side positive force snapped his hip.  Bo's unmatched power, the gift that separated him from every other athlete, ironically caused the injury.

Bo's teammates, friends, fans, coaches and colleagues all sing his praises.  The film marvels at Bo Jackson like the comic book hero Superman.  Not just for his ability but for his humility.  He was not cocky or arrogant.  A man with that much talent and he's as unassuming as any guy on the street.  The Nike commercial was cool.  The reality is even cooler.  Bo knows Humility.  Bo knows Humanity.  Bo Jackson is one of the Greatest Athletes.  Maybe even the Greatest.  Not a Myth or a Legend, but a Man.

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