Even with 26 books to his credit, Dick Schaap realized writing a book with Bo Jackson would be an interesting experience.

"For a Jewish kid from Brooklyn to try to get into the head of a black kid from Bessemer {Ala.} was a challenge and, ultimately, fun to do," said Schaap, whose partnership with Jackson produced "Bo Knows Bo," which will be released Nov. 1.

Schaap's experience is not only impressive, but diverse. He was a newspaper reporter for years, serving as city editor of the New York Herald Tribune from 1964-66. He has worked for Newsweek, was editor of Sport Magazine and has worked for NBC and ABC, where he is now a sports commentator.

The one constant in his life, however, has been books. His sports works include "Instant Replay," a year with the Green Bay Packers co-authored by Packers guard Jerry Kramer; "The Perfect Jump," written about Olympic long jumper Bob Beamon; "The Open Man," co-authored by then-New York Knicks star Dave DeBusschere; and biographies of Joe Namath and Tom Seaver. Outside of sports, Schaap has written books about Robert F. Kennedy, comedian Billy Crystal and "Turned On," based on the fatal drug overdose of a middle-class girl.

To get together with Jackson, Schaap had to first get to him, which he did through his longtime friend and Jackson's Kansas City Royals teammate, George Brett. "George kept telling Bo I was the right person to do the book," Schaap said.

The pair agreed to do the book last fall, and then it became a matter of getting them together, which was easier than anticipated. "He was amazingly accessible," Schaap said. "Between sports, Nike, Pepsi-Cola and everybody else, he does not have a lot of free time. But what I discovered was that he is a prisoner on the road. He almost cannot leave his hotel room."

Much of the book was created during two- or three-hour interviews in hotel rooms throughout the country, as Schaap discovered his -- and many other people's -- preconceptions about Jackson to be wrong.

"I expected him to be arrogant and expected him to be more interested in himself than other people. I really didn't expect the depth of his family commitment, both to his wife and kids and his mother and other siblings."

The diversity of Schaap's career has enabled him to cross paths with thousands of celebrities, and unlike many of them, he said working with Jackson was "never dull."

But some of Schaap's other books have not been graced with such commanding personalities. He wrote nine books in one 16-month span, and the tremendous workload hurt all of them. He wasn't fully satisfied with his books with Namath and Seaver either.

"Namath, at that time, had no sense of looking at the past or the future," Schaap said. "He was neither thoughtful nor reflective. Everything was of the present. He remembered virtually no anecdotes from his childhood."

Seaver, Schaap said, "had lived such a normal life and had such a normal routine, it was the dullest book I ever wrote."

Of all his books, he'll probably be remembered most for "Instant Replay." And that's fine with him.

"Everything came together right" for that book, he said. "It had the best characters, the best plot, it had football at its absolute peak and it had {Packers Coach Vince} Lombardi, probably at that time the most fascinating figure in all of sports."

Now Schaap has teamed up with another of sport's most fascinating individuals. The odds are his 27th book will be successful. And it won't be his last.

"Writing a book is the most satisfying of my various schizoid journalistic endeavors," he said. "When you finish a book, it doesn't decay overnight. You keep it. It's up on the shelf."