Heartbreaker. In an interview with ESPN”s Page 2 to promote a documentary which shows how the appropriation of the L.A. Raiders’ image “changed the trajectory of hip-hop,” Ice Cube ranks Bo’s (football) career-ending hip injury as the fourth most defining moment of the team’s last two decades.
I’m going to list four moments that pretty much define the past two decades of Raiders football: Bo Jackson’s career-ending injury in the playoffs, the “tuck-rule” game, Tony Siragusa body-slamming Rich Gannon in the AFC title game and Barret Robbins disappearing in Mexico on the eve of the ’02 Super Bowl. How do you rank them, on the pain scale?
Oh, the pain. Top of the list: Barret in Mexico. Easy. Second, the tuck-rule game. You know, I got a chance to talk to the head of officiating. Still, every time I see him, I give him grief about that damn tuck rule. Anyway, after that it’s Siragusa, because it happened in the AFC title game, and then Bo. That happened in a regular playoff game, right?
Yeah, in ’91, against the Bengals.
You’ve got some heartbreakers right there, boy.
Speaking Of… hip-hop aesthetics, Bo seems to have had his own impact apart from his Raiderness, as evidenced by a recent interview (over the roar of what I’m assuming is the batting cage inside the new Bo Jackson Elite Sports training facility) about the ultra-lightweight re-release of the 1990 Cross Trainers. It’s kind of like Bo is the Kerouac of sneaker culture — which, apparently, exists* — and the Cross Trainer his On the Road, oh yes…
“At that time, I know that it was the hottest, most popular shoe on the planet.”
The interview is most notable for the revelation (just before his handlers cut the kid off) that Bo doesn’t know hip-hop: “I’m old school, man, I’m old school. I’m R&B… old blues and jazz. I don’t have the energy for hip-hop.”
Unfulfilled Hypothetical. Here’s another story on the Cross Trainer re-release, which includes choice exposition…
It’s hard enough for Jackson to be Jackson. The man was so captivating in the 80s and 90s that he became a cross-training abstraction; an impossibly perfect body, bound in our minds to his shoulder pads and baseball bat, until his body broke. Now he exists for most people as a frozen, unfulfilled hypothetical from 1991. But before that infamous Bengals game when the hip…man. If you don’t know, you better ask Google.
… as well as a very Bo anecdote about conquering Chimney Rock:
In his speech last year to Auburn University’s class of 2009, Jackson pushed the new grads to test their boundaries — something he did frequently as a young man. “I had always been uncomfortable with diving in water,” Jackson remembered. “My freshman year, me and some buddies went up to the lake and to this rock, Chimney Rock, about 75 feet high. I went up halfway the first time, and it took me about ten minutes to jump off. Once I did that, which put me outside my comfort zone, l went up to the top and dove off that rock.”
“Been pullin’ ho’s since Bo Jackson was a Raider.” All of this Bo / hip-hop dovetailing reminded me of the NSFW ultimate… right around the 2:10 mark…
* Yes, yes, I’ve gushed aplenty over Bo shoes, but mostly over the implications for his legacy — the man’s video game character has his own shoe. Only recently — due to the motto of the site linked: “The Saviors of Sneaker Culture” — did I really process that earlier links weren’t to Bo blogs, or plain old pop-culture blogs, but, yeah, sneaker blogs…