Bo Jackson the Banker

For about five years, Bo Jackson was the best athlete on the planet: a two-sport stud who belted homers all summer for the Kansas City Royals then ran over linebackers in the fall as a tailback for the L.A. Raiders. In his heyday, Jackson was the subject of Nike's classic "Bo Knows …" ad campaign. A fluke hip injury effectively ended his career in 1991, but his legend lives on. Now Bo knows something new: banking. He just signed on as a director at the recently opened Burr Ridge Bank and Trust near his home in suburban Chicago. He's off to a fiscally prudent start. For his interview with NEWSWEEK's Matthew Philips, he called us collect.

Have you ever worked for a bank before?
In college, I worked as a teller for a couple summers. That doesn't mean I know much. But it's fun trying out something I don't know jack about.

Isn't this a bad time to go into the banking industry?
Everyone says that. But it's actually a great time to be starting a bank. We're brand-new, with a clean slate. We didn't get caught up in all the mortgage mess. We're not even giving out mortgages. We're trying to get banking back to where it used to be, where you walk in and the teller knows your name.

Do you still get mobbed in public?
Every time I go out. It seems like the only place people don't recognize me is when I go to the bank and get asked for three forms of ID. As soon as I walk in, it's like no one knows Bo.

Was there a point during your career when the attention got out of hand?
Back in the late '80s when I was living in Kansas City, I stopped answering my door. People would send their kids to come ask for an autograph. I started telling them that Mr. Jackson had moved to China.

I have to ask: did you ever play Nintendo's Tecmo Bowl?
No, but people ask me that all the time. I guess I was pretty good in it.

No—you were unstoppable.
When I want to play a videogame, I just go to my basement and plug in Ms. Pacman. I guess I'm a product of the '80s.