EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of an occasional series on the history of the Raiders.
The ties between Las Vegas and the Raiders may not run as deep as Cliff Branch taking in a long pass from Ken Stabler during the glory days of the franchise. But they existed long before owner Mark Davis decided to move the team to the Southern Nevada desert.
Here’s a look at five Las Vegans most identified with the Silver and Black:
1. David Humm: The left-handed quarterback from Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High played 10 seasons in the NFL and had two stints holding a clipboard as the Raiders’ backup. His is the only name that appears on the Raiders’ 1976 and 1983 Super Bowl championship rosters.
When Humm died in 2018 after a long battle with multiple sclerosis, Davis attended his memorial service.
“David is the original Las Vegas Raider,” he said.
"I honestly believe the Raiders organization gave him the will to live. He lived by the Raider code."
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) March 28, 2018
2. Frank Hawkins: The former star from Las Vegas’ Western High was drafted in the 10th round out of UNR in 1981 and spent seven seasons with the Raiders. He was the team’s second-leading rusher in 1983, ’84 and ’85.
During the 1983 Super Bowl-winning season, Hawkins and Kenny King were virtually inseparable, combining for 1,119 rushing and receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.
After his NFL career, Hawkins continued to display versatility: He became a Las Vegas city councilman, helped build homes in low-income neighborhoods and got involved in the legal marijuana business.
He further endeared himself to Raiders fans in Oakland when he called the team’s new stadium deal in his hometown a “taxpayer rip-off.”
27 Days til Raiders Football. #27 Frank Hawkins was a dynamic piece of the Raiders SB XVIII Championship. He scored 15 touchdowns in the Silver & Black. pic.twitter.com/QddTBgXN3h
— Maliik 🏁🇳🇬 (@Obee1ne) July 14, 2019
3. Napoleon McCallum: The former Navy All-American wasn’t born in Las Vegas, but moved here after retiring and has become a fixture in the valley as director of community development for the Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Like David Humm, he was probably best known as a pro for having suffered an injury while playing for the Raiders. McCallum’s NFL career ended on a “Monday Night Football” game in 1994 when he was carted off the field with a gruesome knee dislocation.
But in the long run, McCallum probably will be remembered most for suggesting to Davis in 2014 that Las Vegas would be a good spot for the Raiders to call home if they decided to leave Oakland again.
Raiders running back Napoleon McCallum. Known for a horrific leg injury on MNF on 9/5/94 vs. 49ers. "Suffering a ruptured artery in his left knee, tore three ligaments, tore the calf and hamstring from the bone, and suffered nerve damage in the knee." pic.twitter.com/SGhNuNYQi5
— 𝙃𝙚𝙡𝙢𝙚𝙩 𝘼𝙙𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙩 (@HelmetAddict) August 8, 2018
4. Nick Bell: The graduate of Las Vegas’ Clark High was a Raiders running back from 1981 to 1983. He played in 35 games, rushed 226 times for 853 yards, caught 21 passes for 213 yards and scored seven touchdowns before injuries shortened his career.
He generally is considered a draft bust after the Raiders selected him in the second round out of Iowa, where he was Big Ten co-offensive player of the year in 1990 and drew comparisons to Bo Jackson for his rare combination of power and speed.
I didnt realize Nick Bell was the first RB drafted by the @Raiders after the Bo Jackson injury in Jan. 1991. Bell was taken in the 2nd round by the Raiders in 1991.Bell suffered 2 torn hamstrings in his rookie season. 4 broken ribs in yr 2. a broken ankle in yr 3 was the end pic.twitter.com/ov7qKAcpko
— Raiders History (@Oaklraiders1976) May 7, 2019
5. Bob Blum: The Las Vegas broadcast legend was one of the few Raiders employees Al Davis retained upon taking over ownership of the club in 1963. Blum served as the Raiders’ play-by-play broadcaster until 1968, after which he and Davis remained close friends.
When Blum was inducted into the Southern Nevada Sports Hall of Fame, Davis sent a video greeting congratulating his old pal.
Here is the video from last night's ground breaking of @unlvfootball's future home that includes the legendary Mr. Bob Blum — the greatest Rebel/Raider of all! #RobertJ #UsNowLV https://t.co/bqJePriHuh
— Mark Wallington (@UNLVFBSID) November 14, 2017
Bob Blum was a generous man, great broadcaster who had tremendous history with @RAIDERS and Al Davis. I'm glad to have know him. RIP
— JT The Brick (@JTTheBrick) July 23, 2012