A Brief History of Bo Jackson's Legendary Nike Air Trainer SC High 'Raiders'

Andrew AlvezContributor ISeptember 25, 2017

Image via Drew Paterson

The Raiders are in their final season representing the city of Oakland, and to see them off Oakland native Marshawn Lynch joined the squad to tote the NFL rock one last time.

Beast Mode just got to the Raiders, but 30 years ago another Raiders running back blazed his own trail and made sure his name would forever be mentioned when talking about silver-and-black greats. And it wasn't just Jackson's abilities on the field that made him special.

After breaking into the basketball market, Nike began working on its cross-training division. And, just like with basketball, it found the right person to be the frontman: Vincent "Bo" Jackson. Bo Jackson was a three-sport college star and one of the few NFL players ever permitted by his team to play the game of baseball while being under contract.

Jackson played for the Kansas City Royals and the Los Angeles Raiders at the same. Nike saw Jackson taking over the sports world and, during the 1989 MLB All-Star Game, ran a campaign the sports world would not soon forget. Bo Knows.

1989 MLB All-Star Game
1989 MLB All-Star GameLeonard Ignelzi/Associated Press

The Bo Knows campaign made Jackson a legend not just because it was so well polished, but because Jackson hit a 450-foot home run to lead off the MLB All-Star Game. It was yet another example of Jackson's superhuman athletic ability, and Nike made sure to connect the dots between Jackson and its newest trainer. The shoe has been successful ever since.

The Nike Air Trainer SC High (Originally known as the Nike Air Trainer SC III) was created to be the shoe of the future that would be as versatile as Bo Jackson himself. Advertised as a sneaker that could be used while lifting weights, playing basketball or even jogging, the Nike Air Trainer SC featured a composite leather upper with a padded ankle collar, a polyurethane sole and a visible air unit.

BOB GALBRAITH/Associated Press

A few versions of this shoe are considered iconic "must-have" kicks for collectors, including the Neon, Auburn and Raiders colorways. The Raiders version was especially popular seeing that it had the same color scheme as the team's extremely popular '80s and '90s apparel. Raiders hats, coats and hoodies were "must-have" items, so there's little surprise that the Raiders colorway of the Nike Air Trainer SC High is still considered one of the best shoes associated with an NFL player.

Nike used Bo Jackson to take its first step toward the getting into the crossfit market but also a step toward adding NFL stars like Deion Sanders and Barry Sanders to its football roster. The Nike Air Trainer SC High helped usher in a new dawn for the iconic brand.