Welcome to today’s episode of Throwback Thursday where we pay special birthday tribute to one of the greatest, most iconic Nike and sport training athletes of all-time: Bo Jackson.
Born in Bessemer, Alabama, Bo, like Sir Charles Barkley, proudly wore Auburn orange. His physical ability and talent propelled him from the college level as a Heisman Trophy winner to success on both the gridiron and baseball diamond where he would become the first signature two-sport athlete.
Bo made his presence immediately felt. Of particular note was his first MLB All-Star Game appearance in 1989. In the top of the first inning, he caught a 2-out line drive to left-center field for the huge save. He then led off the bottom of the 1st inning – his first All-Star plate appearance – with a monster 448-foot home run followed by stealing a base in the 2nd inning en route to being named All-Star Game MVP. While his career was cut short as a result of a hip injury sustained during an NFL playoff win against the Bengals in 1991, his on-diamond accomplishments cannot be overlooked: 1993 AL Comeback Player of the Year; four 20-home run seasons, a 30-home run season, as well as a 100 RBI season.
Bo also made an impact on the gridiron as well. In his four seasons in the NFL, Jackson rushed for a total of 2,782 yards and 16 touchdowns. He also caught 40 passes for 352 yards and two touchdowns. His 221 yards on November 30, 1987, his 25th birthday, remains a Monday Night Football record.
Aside from his professional achievements, Bo is perhaps best remembered for his classic Nike “Bo Knows” commercials which dominated the late ’80s and early ’90s sports era in which he was depicted playing a multitude of sports including tennis, golf, fishing and surfing, a tribute to the cross-training era which he helped usher into the global sports marketplace.
Also of note are Bo’s signature sneakers which remain as timeless today as they were when they first released over 30 years ago. Bo broke onto the scene with the Nike Air Trainer 1, a model created by legendary Nike footwear designer, Tinker Hatfield. The silhouette was truly revolutionary and avant-garde in design and technology as it served as the first sneaker specifically designed for cross-training, that is, to be worn straight from the gridiron to your high school prom. Another classic and memorable sneaker in the Trainer line is the 1991 Nike Air Trainer E Low in the white/white-infrared-black colorway. With an original production date range of 2-4/91 (inside tag reads 910204T3), the Trainer E Low featured a low-cut profile, visible heel air sole unit and an aggressive outsole designed for turf training. The successor to classic models such as the 1989 Trainer SC II and 1990 Trainer SC III High, the Trainer E Low features beautiful infrared colorblocking, the exact shade of red seen on the Air Jordan 6, which released that same year. A truly versatile model, the Trainer E launched in both low and high versions in a variety of loud and bright colorways including black/viridian green and white/white-black spark that rival Agassi’s Challenge Court line. The Trainer E remains an underappreciated model today particularly in this classic colorway, yet to receive a proper retro treatment by Nike.
The Nike Air Trainer series by Nike, signature sneaker line of the quintessential, transcendental, legendary two-sport athlete, Bo Jackson.
You think you know, but you don’t know Diddley.