Bo Knows Sneaker Sales: Nike Homage Cements Jackson's Real, Virtual Legacy

Kevin StricklandCorrespondent IAugust 21, 2009

How good do you have to be in order for a 20-year-old digital rendition of you to get its own shoe line? 

Bo knows. 

As part of an homage to former Auburn Heisman Trophy winner Bo Jackson, Nike is set to release a series of Jackson-inspired shoes, including updates to his highly popular cross-training series that debuted in the late '80s. 

In what might be a first, Nike is also releasing a line of shoes that pays tribute to a digital version of Jackson, the unstoppable Tecmo Bo. 

Jackson, who played four seasons with the NFL's Oakland Raiders (while simultaneously playing major league baseball for the Kansas City Royals), became a video gaming legend with his character in the top selling Tecmo Bowl and Tecmo Super Bowl titles for Nintendo. 

Tecmo Bo was featured in only two of four possible running plays for the Raiders in Tecmo Super Bowl. The other two running plays on the Raider menu went to Marcus Allen. 

The digital Bo was virtually unstoppable. It is possibly the most dominant character to ever grace a sports video game. 

Watch Tecmo Bo cover 99 yards and burn an entire quarter of game clock in the vintage Tecmo Super Bowl game here.

The Tecmo Bo shoe line comes in two designs. One design is silver and black, a bow to his days with the Raiders. The tongue will feature an eight-bit version of Bo taken from the Tecmo Bowl game.

The other sneaker design celebrates his baseball career and is patterned after the Kansas City Royals' light blue and white uniform colors. 

Jackson and Nike have a long history together.  

Before Michael Jordan became synonymous with the brand, Bo was the face of the franchise. 

His "Bo Knows" advertising campaign helped build the brand and also established his legend. It's fair to say that in many ways Bo made Nike while Nike was making Bo. 

Of course, Bo's superhuman feats on the baseball diamond and football field fueled his Nike-hyped, multi-talented persona. 

When you saw Bo run over the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football or climb a wall to catch a ball for the Royals, it was easy to believe there was nothing Bo could not do. 

Surely, as Nike's ads theorized, Bo could drive a race car, ride a horse, dominate at tennis, or win at cricket. 

Bo was one of the rare few whose actual ability exceeded his hype. 

Jackson is the greatest athlete of our time, bar none. Apologies to the Herschel Walker and Deion Sanders camps, but neither could walk in Bo's Nike shoes. 

The fact that more than 20 years since he last played the games there is a shoe line that bears his name is testament to that enduring legacy. 

That there is also a shoe line devoted not just to the man, but also to his digital likeness, writes it in stone.