Many have tried, but few athletes have had the success in multiple sports like Bo Jackson did. But despite a career cut short by injury, did his success lead to tons of money and a high net worth today?
Jackson, an American professional football player and baseball player in the 1980’s and 90’s, made quite a bit of money in sports and is one of the greatest athletes of all time, and probably the most successful dual-sport athlete in history.
Vincent Edward “Bo” Jackson was born on November 30, 1962 in Bessemer, Alabama. While attending McAdory High School, he was a star in multiple sports, rushing for over 1,000 yards as a running back on the football team, hitting 20 home runs for the baseball team, and was a two-time state-champion in the decathlon. He was so dominant in the decathlon that he never had to participate in the final event because he had built such a lead in points and couldn’t be caught.
He is now married to his wife Linda and has three children, sons Garrett and Nicholas, and a daughter, Morgan.
Football Over Baseball
Bo Jackson was selected in the second round of the 1982 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees, but decided to attend Auburn University on a football scholarship instead so he could fulfill the promise to his mother that he would be the first member of his family to attend college.
Jackson didn’t just play college football. He continued to play multiple sports, being a member of the Auburn Tigers football team, baseball team, and track and field team. He could have easily chased careers in all three of these sports, but focused more on football and baseball because they provided more money.
In four seasons with the Auburn Tigers, Jackson rushed for 4,303 yards and 43 touchdowns. He is fifth all-time in the SEC for career rushing yards and ninth for career rushing touchdowns.
In 1985, Jackson solidified himself as one of the top running backs in the country with 1,786 rushing yards and 17 scores en route to the Heisman Trophy, the nation’s most valuable player, and Walter Camp Player of the Year Award.
Jackson would be selected with the first pick in the 1986 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but he refused to play for them because Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse lied to him during his final season of college baseball, leading to his ineligibility.
He played professional baseball for the Kansas City Royals during the 1986 season before Tampa Bay forfeited his rights prior to the 1987 NFL Draft. Though he wanted to focus on baseball, being drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders and having owner Al Davis offer a contract that not only paid him five-year, $7.4 million contract — the highest total for a non-quarterback in NFL history at the time — but also allowed him to finish the baseball season.
Even though Jackson is one of the best athletes in professional sports history, he didn’t have the NFL success he probably should have due to a hip injury. His football career was brought to an end in 1990 when he dislocated his hip. In just four seasons, Jackson appeared in 38 games and rushed for 2,782 yards and 16 touchdowns. His final season in the NFL came in 1990, which was his only appearance in the Pro Bowl.
Bo Jackson’s Baseball Career
Jackson was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 1986 Amateur Draft and vowed to play for them if taken by the Bucs in the NFL Draft. He signed a three-year deal worth $1.06 million dollars to play baseball and spent the first 53 games in the minors before being called up to the Royals’ roster in September.
His first full season in the majors was in 1987 when he hit 22 home runs and drove in 53 RBIs. In 1989, Jackson had his best statistical season with a .256 batting average, 32 home runs and 105 RBIs. He also made the All Star Game and was named the MVP of the game.
Jackson played eight seasons in Major League Baseball — five in Kansas City, two for the Chicago White Sox, and one for the California Angels. He finished his career with a batting average of .250, 141 home runs, and 415 RBI’s.
Television and Video Games
One of the most popular phrases surrounding Jackson was the “Bo Knows” campaign for a Nike shoe. The ad campaign put Bo in commercials where he was was trying other sports like tennis and golf.
Jackson is also extremely popular in the video game world as the face of 1989’s Tecmo Bowl for the NES. Jackson’s character in the game was basically unstoppable. There was also a reference back to this game in a Kia commercial in 2016 featuring Jackson driving a Kia Sorento through the game.
He also made appearances on popular shows in an effort to start an acting career after his athletic career ended. He appeared on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Married… With Children.
What is Bo Jackson’s Net Worth?
As one of the most famous athletes of all time, Jackson made quite a bit of money even though he probably could have made much more if his career wasn’t derailed by a hip injury. However, with his ability to do so many different things, Jackson has still managed to build up a nice value and has an estimated net worth of $16 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
This post was originally published on June 28, 2019.