Nov 26, 2013, 11:33 AM EDT
Bo knows Blake.
Blake Leeper, a two-time Paralympic medalist sprinter in prosthetic legs since he was nine months old, was a guest on “Arsenio” on Monday.
Leeper talked about his much-reported goal to run in the 2016 Rio Olympics, but that wasn’t the only reason for his appearance.
Arsenio Hall didn’t waste any time, asking Leeper, 24, about his favorite athlete as a kid.
“My guy growing up, of course, was Bo Jackson,” he said. “I was a huge Bo fan before his injury. I watched Bo, everything he did. Remember, he got hurt, his football accident. He came back with a prosthetic hip and was able to battle back his whole life, come back and compete.”
Jackson suffered a football career-ending hip injury in a January 1991 NFL playoff game with the Oakland Raiders. Leeper was 1 year old.
Jackson persevered and continued to play baseball with the Chicago White Sox and California Angels.
“As a child, seeing him, with his prosthetic hip, even though I had prosthetic legs, I just heard, ‘prosthetics,’” Leeper said. “I was really excited, and I related myself. Everywhere I would go, ‘Call me Bo. Call me Bo.’”
Hall then asked Leeper about his start in sprinting and called on somebody to bring out a pair of Leeper’s race legs.
That somebody was Jackson. Leeper’s reaction in the video below was priceless. The two champion athletes shared a 16-second hug.
“I’m speechless right now,” Leeper said, sitting next to Jackson. “This is the first time I’ve been able to actually say this. Twenty years ago, the day that I met you was truly amazing for me. I want to say thank you for never giving up on your career. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t be here today. You inspired me to be who I am today. You inspired me to go out there and show the world that regardless of who you are, regardless of if you have a disability, it doesn’t matter. As long as you battle back, and you give it your 120 percent, you can overcome any challenge. And I thank you for that, Bo, I appreciate it.”
Jackson was appreciative as well.
“My analogy is God puts speedbumps in everybody’s road to life,” Jackson said. “It’s up to us to slow down, get over that speedbump and move on down the road.
“It’s almost like me sitting here and watching my own son. I am just that proud of him”
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