The Year of Bo

Thirty years ago a run of events happened that would turn Bo Jackson from a brilliant enigma into an international icon. Jackson was known before 1989, but in 12 months, everything changed. Bo prepares to bounce back In December 1988, Bo Jackson’s second NFL season came to a disappointing […]

On the same night as the All-Star Game, the “Bo Knows” Nike ad airs for the first time. The commercial spot, the brainchild of Jim Riswold, a copywriter for the advertising firm Wieden and Kennedy, devised the ads to support Nike’s new “cross-trainer” line. Sales of the shoe would rise from $40 million to $400 million in the wake of “Bo Knows.” How big was the campaign? Even His Airness may have been momentarily eclipsed. “Nike has credited the Bo Jackson commercials with helping to make the athletic-footwear company No. 1 in its market,” wrote The New York Times. “I’ve got to believe the Nike people are right,” Tony Gwynn said at the time. “Bo can do it. He can do anything in this world.”

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