How does a name like Vincent Edward Jackson turn into Bo?
I grew up with nine siblings, I’m the 10th. There was never a dull moment. You had to spring to the dinner table because if you got there late you’d probably miss out on a bunch of good food. My house was crowded sleeping quarters but it was filled with love. My family said I was tough like a wild boar but once I got to college I took the ‘ar’ off and just made it Bo. Calling myself a boar hog during college wasn’t too popular with the ladies.
You met your wife, Linda, while you were both students at Auburn University. What’s the key to making it work?
A successful 25 year marriage is doing exactly what your wife tells you to do! And making sure that she is always right. Yes.
You were the first athlete to be named an All-Star in both professional baseball and football. You’ve won the Heisman Trophy. You were the fastest NFL running back of all-time. Looking back on a career like that with your three kids, what are you most proud of?
What I would want my kids to be most proud of me about is raising them in the correct way.
Was there a difference between the lifestyle of a player in the NFL and the MLB?
There really isn’t a difference. The baseball lifestyle is a little more laid back. With football players there’s a little bit more tension, a little bit more stress because you’re going, going, going and you only play once every week. With baseball you know what you gotta do tomorrow so you can just take your time.
Favorite thing about the city of Chicago?
My favorite thing about Chicago? That I live in the suburbs! Chicago is a little faster than the South but with me living out in the ‘burbs I can control the pace of my life. Living in the city is too crowded, too noisy, too much of everything. Being out there, it slows you.
What made you want to settle down in Burr Ridge?
That’s where my job brought me back in the day and at that same time my kids were starting school. Instead of uprooting them and taking them to places where I wanted to live and being sort of selfish, I decided to let them start school here and if they started school here they were gonna finish school here.
When you’re taking your wife out to dinner on a Friday night, where are you going?
If we have to come downtown our favorite restaurant is Shaw’s over on Hubbard. If we’re out in the ‘burbs, I have two restaurants. I have an Italian restaurant called Capri that’s in Burr Ridge and restaurant called Devon in Oakbrook Terrace, which has the same owners as Braxton. When they shut down Braxton they combined Braxton and Devon so that’s why I still go there. And because of the salmon!
Are there any young athletes who you have taken under your wing?
I am very close to Cam Newton. I don’t follow football, baseball or basketball but I am friends with Cam Newton. I’m kind of like a father figure to him so whenever there is stress in his life or when he does something that he shouldn’t be doing I’ll call and get on him. We have that type of friendship and relationship.
With all of the accolades and attention that comes with the life of a pro athlete, how do you keep a good head on your shoulders?
I say this, I do what those other idiots forget to do which is think. Think! I knew from an early age that in order for me to get where I want to be I had to stay on the straight and narrow. I don’t do the bar scenes, I don’t do the club scenes. I invest.
You’ve invested in local businesses like Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports but also many outside of the realm of sports such as The Burr Ridge Bank and Trust. What inspired you to branch out?
A man can’t live off of sports alone. It’s the same as a man can’t live off of bread alone. Sports isn’t promised to us for a lifetime but if you go out and start a business you can stay in that business as long as you want and be successful at it.
When you’re hanging out at home with your family, what will we find you doing?
Well, all of my kids are grown or off at college! So whenever I’m at home I’m either down in my man cave doing something or watching a Lifetime movie.
From breaking bats to watching Lifetime movies. Can you tell us the last movie you watched?
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button! I just happened to wake up and I couldn’t go back to sleep so I got up and went downstairs and fixed coffee at 3:45 a.m. Then I went to my little man cave and worked on some archery and turned on the TV. So by 5:45-6 a.m. I’m sitting there crying because the character is sick after he saved the kids on the bus. I’m sitting there wiping tears and working on my bow and arrow.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
Nelson Mandela. Knowing Mr. Mandela, we’d probably have a glass of red wine.
Photography by Anjali Pinto
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