Josh Jacobs Reveals He Was Homeless In Kia Super Bowl Ad

Josh Jacobs

Getty Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs, current running back for the Oakland Raiders, appears in Kia’s 2020 Super Bowl ad, and his story is pretty incredible! Jacobs is publicly telling his story about growing up homeless. Although he has previously discussed his past in interviews, this will be the first time he brings his story to an audience as large as the anticipated 100 million viewers of Super Bowl 54.

In the commercial, Jacobs speaks to his younger self and encourages strength and perseverance. Jacobs, now an adult, drives a Kia vehicle along the same streets where a young boy is running. When the child eventually gets into the car with Jacobs, the football star turns to the youth and tells him to keep fighting through the hardship.

As a philanthropic bonus, Kia has committed to donating $1,000 to charitable organizations focused on alleviating youth homelessness for every yard gained during the 2020 Super Bowl game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. Of the charities to receive donations is Oklahoma City-based organization Positive Tomorrow.

There Is A Short Documentary To Accompany The Commercial

In addition to the Super Bowl ad Jacobs produced in partnership with Kia, the collaboration also created a six-minute documentary about the running back’s story. The documentary examines Jacobs’ upbringing in Tulsa, Oklahoma and how he triumphed over homelessness. About his childhood, Jacobs says in the documentary that “Growing up in Tulsa, a lot of nights I didn’t know where I was going to eat or be sleeping at night.”

Jacobs has revealed that he lived in his car while homeless, thus making his partnership with Kia even more significant. However, Jacobs never let his situation stop him from overcoming the barriers presented to him. Of his days living out of a car as a child, he has said, “Even when I was in the car, it was home. It never registered we were homeless.”

The documentary also interviews several of Jacobs’ high school football coaches, as well as his father, Marty Jacobs. The full documentary is available to be watched on YouTube.

Jacobs Grew Up In A Broken Home

In addition to experiencing homelessness, Jacobs grew up in a home with strained relationships. His parents separated when he was eight years old, and Jacobs continued to live with his mother, Lachelle, with whom he constantly fought and argued. Jacobs has recalled that his mother often mismanaged the family’s money and the child support his father gave her, saying that “My father would give her a stack of money. She would go out and spend it and we’d be eating Salvation Army food. I would ask her how she could go spend that money and not have good food for us to eat. She didn’t like that, how I rebelled and spoke up. So, she kicked me out.”

After being kicked out of his mother’s house, Jacobs went to live with his father. However, he and his dad had trouble finding a place to live and often ended up staying with friends or sleeping in their Suburban. Of the experience of living out of their car, Jacobs has described how his father would drive around town to find a safe and comfortable place to park once nightfall came, and then would sleep in the driver’s seat with a firearm in his lap while Jacobs slept in the backseat.

Despite the stress he experienced in his home life, Jacobs didn’t succumb to his circumstances. Instead, he viewed his upbringing and home life with a sense of youthful innocence.  Of his living situation as a child, Jacobs has said, “It’s crazy because I didn’t notice that I was sleeping in a car. I was just thinking that I was falling asleep and waking up. I didn’t think anything about it because I felt safe. (My dad) would just drive around until he found a place to sleep and then I’d get up the next day and go to school.”

Josh Jacobs is a sports hero whose influence is going to be felt far beyond the football field. His story is one of triumph and strength, and his partnership with Kia is going to extend his influence to a national audience. All to say, his ability to persevere is admirable and inspirational!

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