December 10th, 2012 by Colin M Jarman
WHAT IF I TOLD YOU…? that there were stars, there were superstars – and then there was Vincent ‘Bo’ Jackson!
“You Don’t Know Bo” is a 90-minute documentary that is crammed to overflowing with unbelievable highlight action, first-hand anecdotal commentary and mind-boggling mythological feats from Bo’s childhood. If Stan Lee was to create a sporting superhero for Marvel comics, his exploits and legend would not come halfway to reaching what Bo Jackson achieved in a short college and professional career across baseball, football and athletics.
This excellent documentary takes the viewer beyond the human highlight reel accomplishments: leading off an All-Star game with a homer, running for a 91-yard TD and disappearing out of the Kingdome, running up the center field wall after making an over the shoulder catch, and many more that have to be seen to be be believed.
The film shows the inspirational (and perhaps sadly overlooked and overshadowed) side to Bo’s persona is how, when faced with making a decision to join George Steinbrenner’s Yankees, Bear Bryant’s Crimson Tide or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as its first overall draft pick – he made the right choice: morally not monetarily. This perhaps is what really separates Bo Jackson from the other megastars.
“YOU DON’T KNOW BO” premieres on ESPN America on Weds Dec 26th.
Check local listings for start times and repeat screenings
I was lucky enough, while living/working in Los Angeles, to see Bo play – up close and personal from the sidelines at the LA Coliseum for the Raiders against the Bengals. The photo below is my favorite image I have ever taken in 20+ years of sports photography. What struck me most about Bo in full flight was that he never looked like he was running fast – he ran so smoothly and effortlessly, and in perfect balance but his acceleration and power made others look pedestrian.
As if in homage to the whole series that precedes it, “You Don’t Know Bo” successfully manages to combine elements of other great ’30 for 30′ titles:
A two-sport superstar – “Jordan Rides the Bus”
A career cut short through injury / illness – “Magic Johnson: The Announcement” / “Marcus Dupree: The Best There Never Was”
A high school phenom – “Benji” / “Chris Herren”
Alabama v Auburn rivalry – “Roll Tide, War Eagle”
It is an easy decision for me to make to name Bo as the greatest athlete I have ever seen play live (and that list includes Jordan, Montana and the similarly multi-talented Herschel Walker), but this film is equally peerless. Not only is “You Don’t Know Bo” the best ’30 for 30′ documentary I have ever seen, but it is also the best sports documentary and, in my humble opinion, the greatest documentary I have ever seen (but then I am biased by the subject matter)! Which only goes to prove that “Bo Knows Docos” too!
SYNPOSIS / REVIEWS
He hit 500-foot major league home runs, ran over NFL linebackers, and – for a few memorable years – was the best athlete we’d ever seen (until injury ended his two-sport career). “You Don’t Know Bo” is a close look at the man and Nike’s iconic ‘Bo Knows…’ marketing campaign that shaped his legacy. Even without winning a Super Bowl or World Series – he is, however, the only man to be elected to both the MLB All -Star Game & NFL Pro Bowl – Bo redefined the role of the athlete in the pop cultural conversation. More than 20 years later, myths and legends still surround Bo Jackson, and his impossible feats still capture our collective imagination.
“Bo Jackson is like a superhero straight out of a comic book. If we had scripted this story it would feel like a cliché, but what’s so incredible is that for the most part, the legend of Bo Jackson is actually true. And the parts that aren’t true have been cemented into the minds of fans to somehow become the truth.”
MICHAEL BONFIGLIO, “You Don’t Know Bo” director [see video below]
“Coaches, teammates and sportswriters speak of him in mythological terms. He is compared to Paul Bunyan, described as ‘something out of Homer,’ or someone who came ‘from outer space to play for the Royals.’ As with Hercules or Superman, there were stories of great physical feats done in his youth … The epitaph he wants for his gravestone is ‘Here lies a ballplayer.’ If Jackson is in neither the baseball nor the football Hall of Fame, he is remembered as something more than a mere player – one of those great gifted beings who are given for a time to walk among us and make the world seem more marvelous”
ROBERT LLOYD, Los Angeles Times
“ESPN’s 30 for 30 films are almost always good, but this is one that people need to pay attention to. Two-sport athletes are pretty much a dead breed, and Jackson will always be the prime example of what they’re supposed to be. It’s always a good idea to watch these documentaries, but Jackson is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. It’s time for people to learn about him and how good he really was.”
IAN HANDFORD, BleacherReport.com
“One of the most common complaints I’ve seen from the public regarding the 30 for 30 series is that so many of them focus on negative stories, stories that show the worst side of human nature. Whether that’s a fair assessment or not, there’s no placing “You Don’t Know Bo” in that category. It’s as inspirational and uplifting a film as ESPN has produced yet for this series and one that everyone, not just Auburn fans, can enjoy and take inspiration from.”
MATT SCALICI, AL.com (Alabama)
“How great is the @espn 30 on 30 series? Thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s documentary on Bo Jackson. #BOKNOWSCLASS”
@TroyAikman, Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys QB on Twitter
|6 Jul - 07:00||30 For 30 - Jordan Rides the Bus|
|7 Jul - 06:00||30 For 30 - Ghost of Ole Miss|
|7 Jul - 16:30||30 For 30 - The House of Steinbrenner|
|9 Jul - 04:00||30 For 30 - You Don't Know Bo|
|9 Jul - 15:00||30 For 30 - Elway To Marino|
|10 Jul - 04:30||30 For 30 - Benji|
|10 Jul - 15:00||30 For 30 - Broke|
|11 Jul - 04:30||30 For 30 - Elway To Marino|
|12 Jul - 08:30||30 For 30 - Elway To Marino|
|14 Jul - 04:00||30 For 30 - Four Days in October|
© ESPN 2013