A couple of biggies celebrate birthdays today – All-America running back Keith Byars and All-America basketball player Jim Jackson.
Keith Alan Byars was born Oct. 14, 1963, in Dayton, Ohio, and became a multisport star at Roth High School. He signed with Buckeyes in 1982, and as a junior in 1984 had one of the most productive seasons in school history. That year, Byars rushed for 1,764 yards and 22 TDs, finishing second in the Heisman Trophy balloting. He returned for his senior season in 1985, but sustained a foot injury before the year began and was sidelined for much of the season. Despite his injury-filled senior year, Philadelphia selected Byars with the 10th overall pick of the 1986 NFL draft. He played seven seasons with the Eagles, four with Miami, two with New England and one with the Jets, becoming one of the top running and receiving threats in the league. He finished his 14-year NFL career with 3,109 yards and 23 TDs rushing and another 5,661 yards and 31 TDs receiving.
James Arthur Jackson was born Oct. 14, 1970, in Toledo, Ohio. He was a prep All-America at Macomber High School before becoming one of the most highly rated prospects to sign with Ohio State. In three seasons with the Buckeyes from 1990-92, Jackson averaged 19.2 points and 5.9 rebounds and helped OSU win back-to-back Big Ten championships in 1991 and ’92. Dallas made him the fourth overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft, and Jackson spent 14 seasons in the pros with 12 different teams, finishing his career with 12,690 points, 4,152 rebounds and 2,851 assists. His career averages were 14.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. Jackson retired following the 2006 season and is currently a color analyst for the Big Ten Network.
Also celebrating birthdays today: former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop is 92; former Bond actor Roger Moore is 81; former attorney and Watergate whistle-blower John Dean is 70; fashion designer Ralph Lauren is 69; The Moody Blues frontman Justin Hayward is 62; actor/comic/magician Harry Anderson is 60; musician Thomas Dolby is 50; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi is 44; self-impressed sports talk show host Jim Rome is 44; equally self-impressed sportswriter Stephen A. Smith is 41; three-time Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue cover girl Daniela Peštová is 38; Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines is 34; disqualified 2006 Tour de France winner Floyd Landis is 33; Grammy-winner singer Usher Raymond is 30; actress, model, pro wrestler and “Dancing With The Stars” favorite Stacy Keibler is 29; and Washington Redskins safety LaRon Landry is 24.
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