The DB begins his first season with the Giants with a wealth of playing experience and entrepreneurial spirit learned from those closest to him.
Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson is entering his fifth season in the NFL, but for the first time in his career, he won’t be suiting up in Tennessee. After four years with the Titans, Jackson is now a member of the New York Giants after signing a three-year, $39 million contract in March. With Week 1 of the 2021 season suddenly here, he’s now taken on the task of learning a totally new team culture and philosophy for the first time as a pro.
But Jackson is no stranger to change — his story has long been one of seizing opportunities without shying away from the challenges that come with them, drawing strength from his family each step of the way.
“I’m looking at [joining the Giants] like I have to earn my keep,” Jackson told Boardroom in a telephone interview. “I’m just looking to fit in the best way I can with these guys and help the team win games.”
Picking up and moving is not new to Jackson. Born in East St. Louis, Illinois, he grew up close to his parents. As a teenager, he moved away to California and later enrolled at USC after graduating high school, becoming a consensus All-American in 2016.
“It was rough leaving my parents,” the 25-year-old said. “But I had them as examples as to how to figure out what to do while I’m out here [in California].”
Jackson’s mother, Vianca, is a breast cancer survivor. She didn’t tell Adoree’ — or “Sweet Pea,” as she calls him — about her diagnosis until after she was in remission, wanting to keep any extra burden off him. And it’s thanks to her that Jackson’s faith began to take root.
“She taught me to cherish what I have,” Jackson said. “Seeing her faith in God and her belief showed me that if I keep those things as well, things will work out for me.”
Alongside that concrete faith is an understanding that nothing worth having comes without work. That work ethic comes from his father, Christopher Jackson.
Adoree’ says his dad is his toughest critic.
“He’s always pointing out that there is somebody better,” Jackson told Boardroom. “One time, he called me before a game against Atlanta. I didn’t play well the game before, and he called me to let me know that. I hung up the phone and said, ‘Well, I gotta play well, now.'”
His father knows a thing or two about doing whatever is necessary to stay ahead of the competition, too — he runs his own barbecue business. And that’s where Adoree’ says he inherited his own entrepreneurial drive.
It’s a combination of ambition, faith, and generosity that powers Jackson’s approach to his off-field ventures. He’s increasingly expanding his investment portfolio, is involved with esports,and even spent two NFL offseasons interning at Warner Bros. to get a first taste of the film and television industry.
He’s also a partner in KME Ventures, a company that helps creators increase their brand value and engagement across digital platforms.
“I try to listen and give feedback any time I can,” Jackson said about the pitches he receives. “Even if it’s something I may not be interested in, I want to help in any way I can so that person can find the right person that will back their idea.”
Every big move is another manifestation of the overall theme of his life off the field: curiosity translating into action.
Now playing in the biggest media market in sports, Jackson has never had such an opportunity to meet people and forge new professional connections. But thanks to the foundation his family instilled in him, he’s not about to lose sight of the fact that in many cases, the most profound interaction of all is the one that brightens someone’s day.
“You never know. You could have been the first person that spoke to them all day, and sometimes, that’s all somebody needs,” Jackson said. “I represent both my parents everywhere I go and they taught me to be kind to others.”
The immersion into his off-field interests is also something he draws from his parents. And they gave him the confidence to follow his own instincts.
“I didn’t really ask them for much, even when I moved away,” he said. “I watched them figure it out and told myself that whatever I got into, I would figure it out.”
With his first regular season with Big Blue set to begin Sunday against the Broncos, Jackson gets a new set of challenges to take on — including a mild ankle sprain that puts his status for the game into some amount of dobut. But as he takes the field at MetLife Stadium for the first time as a member of the home team, it’s a guarantee that he’ll be carrying with him the strength, belief, and resolve of an entire family.