In the sixth part of 1851’s interview series with Bo Jackson, the legendary athlete and entrepreneur discusses the balance of celebrity and maturity.
This is the sixth in a 10-part exclusive interview series with Bo Jackson, where the entrepreneur and legendary star athlete shares stories of his childhood, what motivates him in his business career, the nature of today’s younger generation, how he balances work, family and his spare time, his philosophy on achieving success and much more. Stay tuned for the seventh part of our series coming this Wednesday, October 17.
Athletes who become celebrities — especially at a young age — often get blinded by the spotlight. In order to avoid the pitfalls that come with being a recognized “celebrity,” athletes need to have a certain level of maturity.
When 1851 Publisher Nick Powills asked Bo Jackson where his maturity came from, he replied, “I learned it on my own. Trial and error. Even when I was in college, I go out there on the field with my teammates and we would perform on Saturday, and 95 percent of the time we would win. My teammates that Saturday night, they want to go out and party. You come back to the football dorm, go to room 221, I’m in the dorm room.”
While Jackson wasn’t antisocial, he recognized that going out and making one dumb mistake — and being recognized in the process — would have detrimental effects.
“I learned this from the Sports Information Director. He said, ‘Bo, you can go out there on that field and you can run for 500 yards on Saturday, score eight touchdowns, and the news writers are going to write things to make it look like you are Superman. And if you go out and do something stupid, like trying to help your teammates in a fight, and you didn’t start it, you’re just trying to break it up, and the headline says ‘Bo Jackson in a Brawl,’ those same writers that were calling you Superman on Sunday are going to rip you to shreds on Monday,’” said Jackson.
To watch the full clip, check out the video above. You can also find the fifth part of 1851’s exclusive interview series here.