*The sixth and final episode of the season for ESPN’s “30 for 30” series will focus on the legendary two-sport professional athlete Bo Jackson.
“You Don’t Know Bo,” premiering Dec. 8 at 9 p.m., will focus on the man behind the Heisman Trophy, the 2,782 rushing yards and the 500-foot home runs bombs that made him one of the most celebrated sportsmen of the our time.
“People refer to him as potentially the greatest athlete who ever lived, and he somehow captured our imaginations in a way that nobody else has and part of that is the brevity of his career,” says the film’s director Michael Bonfiglio.
Bo, the Auburn alum from Bessemer, Ala., began his pro career as an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals in 1986, the same year he was drafted by the Los Angeles Raiders for his first professional gridiron start the following year.
During the 1990 NFL playoffs however, Bo suffered a hip injury that led to the end of his NFL career after just three years. Following surgery and rehabilitation, it was discovered that Jackson had avascular necrosis, a condition caused by decreased blood supply to the head of his left femur. It required that Bo’s hip be replaced. But, he was able to return to baseball in 1993 as a member of the Chicago White Sox after the Royals released him.
He famously hit a home run on his first swing for Chicago against the New York Yankees, and went on to crack 16 more. In 1994, he signed with the California Angels as a free agent for one last season, where he hit another 13 home runs before retiring during the strike.
“We kind of can fill in the blanks a little bit as to what he could have been, but at the same time we still have this amazing footage of him doing these sort of gravity-defying and physics-defying acts that really sort of captured everybody’s imagination, not to mention the whole gigantic Nike marketing campaign that elevated him beyond being just a sports figure. So this film’s going to really explore mythmaking and heroes and Bo himself.”
Jackson has famously kept the media at bay throughout his career, but Bonfiglio bets his film “has the most candid material with him that anybody’s ever captured.”
Below, Bonfiglio talks more about why Bo was so media shy, and how he was able get the former athlete to open up.
Watch a promo of “You Don’t Know Bo” below.