This is for the younger crowd: Try to Imagine Adrian Peterson and Mike Trout rolled into one, an unstoppable, two-sport mega-athlete. Doesn't seem possible, does it?
Well then, boy, do I have a suggestion for you.
Tonight at 9 p.m. ET, ESPN will be airing the latest in its critically acclaimed 30 for 30 series, You Don't Know Bo. It's subject: Bo Jackson.
Better known as the real-life version of the mega-athlete described above.
But don't take my word for it. Just listen to the disembodied experts in this trailer:
Those in the know regard Jackson as one of, if not the single greatest athlete who ever lived. His mythos is legendary, ranging from stories about jumping over a Volkswagen to stories of doing a back flip out of a pool.
But those are, in some ways, urban legends. The stuff that can be substantiated is just as impressive.
On the football field, there was the instance where he plowed over Brian Bosworth (something that was still impressive at that time) at the goal line. On the baseball diamond, there was the leadoff home run in the 1989 All-Star game. That's just what Bo did.
There have been two-sport athletes, but there's never been one quite like Bo Jackson. But as the video above suggested: As quickly as he was there, he was gone.
Avascular necrosis––a bone disease––and hip replacement surgery put an early expiration date on his dominance. But even without the longevity it normally takes to make a cultural impact, Jackson managed to do that...and more.
He only played four seasons in the NFL and is still regarded as one of the greatest running backs the league has ever seen. He only took 2,393 major league at-bats, but his All-Star game performance still lasts as one of the league's signature moments.
Because Jackson's career was cut short, you could easily call his career a disappointment. His narrative could easily be labeled "The Tragedy of Bo Jackson."
But it shouldn't be viewed that way. Jackson is lasting proof that career totals are not what define careers. Everybody who ever watched him play remembers it vividly. His legacy is visceral, passed down from generation to generation through the mythical stories he produced.
An earlier installment of the 30 for 30 series was titled The Best That Never Was. Some would argue that title could have worked for Jackson's story as well.
But if Jackson ''never was''....why are we still talking about him right now?