7 Takeaways From The Mike Tyson Interview With T.I.
Mike Tyson, former heavyweight champion of the world, shared personal stories about his connection to Tupac Shakur, why he can’t live without a wife and about the time he fought while high.
“If I don’t have a wife, I’ll kill myself,” Iron Mike told Tip “T.I.” Harris on the expediTIously podcast. “I need somebody to listen to. I’m just that person.”
Here are 7 takeaways from that conversation.
Tyson and Tupac are forever linked in history
Tyson and Tupac met in the early ’90s when Tyson helped get the then-unknown hip-hop artist and his large entourage into a packed club where they had been turned away. Tyson talked about his first meeting with Tupac in 2018 on DJ Whoo Kid’s “The Whoolywood Shuffle” podcast.
In 1992, Tyson, then 25, was sentenced to six years in prison for rape. Tupac visited him in prison. “The guards in the prison didn’t like him cause when he came, the inmates got rowdy and pumped up,” Tyson said. “He had mad respect. I guess that’s how he lived his life, he demanded respect.”
Tyson described Tupac as a bolt of energy. “When the word came out he just came to visit me, and then he went out and shot two police officers, off-duty police officers,” Tyson remembered. “Everybody in the prison went crazy! It was like a riot, everybody went crazy! He had so much f*cking power.”
Tupac’s tragic death happened shortly after he went with Suge Knight to watch Tyson fight Bruce Seldon in a match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Tyson and Tupac will always be linked, Brobible reported.
Tyson was arrested more than 40 times before he turned 13
Tyson was born and raised in Brownsville, a Brooklyn ghetto bordered by Crown Heights and Bedford–Stuyvesant. He weighed 200 pounds by the time he was 12, but had a high-pitched voice and a lisp, which created problems for himself. He was laughed at and ridiculed by other kids.
Tyson’s early aspiration as a child was to be a criminal, he told T.I. By the age of 13, Tyson had been arrested 40 times. When he was convicted of purse snatching in 1979, he was sent to the Tryon School for Boys in upstate New York where he came to the attention of the legendary boxing trainer Cus D’Amato, who had worked with Floyd Patterson, according to InvestorMint.
D’Amato saw Tyson’s potential and was determined to help him fulfill it. In 1984, D’Amato became Tyson’s legal guardian.
To be a champion, Tyson says you have to get beat up
Tyson said, “You can’t be a champion unless you’ve been beat up and dragged in the dirt and kicked in your balls.” Being a champion is a lifestyle, he said. Tyson claimed that he was not a champion when he held the heavyweight belt. “A champion has to be beat up too,” Tyson told T.I.
“I had to go through what I went through to be who I am,” Tyson said. “I had to find out who I am to find out who I am not.”
At the peak of his career, Tyson’s net worth was $400 million
As of September, 2019, Tyson has a net worth of $5 million. according to InvestorMint. He lost $700 million earned over the course of 25 years as he went from fame and wealth to prison and poverty, and back again. After retiring from boxing in 2005, Tyson started a lucrative second career in Hollywood, playing versions of himself in TV shows “Brothers,” “Entourage,” “How I Met Your Mother,” and “Franklin & Bash” and in movies “The Hangover,” “The Hangover Part II,” and “Scary Movie 5.”
Now he has his own YouTube channel specializing in comedy sketches and parodies of music videos.
At the peak of his career as a boxer, Tyson said that he had a net worth of a “couple hundred million,” and estimated that he had $400 million.
Tyson once fought while high on marijuana
Tyson said he fought once when he was high on marijuana in a match against Andrew Golota of Poland in 2000. Golota didn’t make it to the third round and Tyson earned a technical knockout. After the fight, Tyson tested positive for cannabis and the knockout was later changed to “no contest”.
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He’s opening a weed ranch in the Mojave desert
Tyson has a weed ranch called “Tyson Ranch” and plans to open a weed-themed resort with a hotel in the Mojave Desert. The resort will have an edible factory, amphitheater and glamping campgrounds. The ranch grows various strains of marijuana that are sold in dispensaries throughout California and in Las Vegas, Marketwatch reported. Tyson says the operation sells about $500,000 a month in weed products. He told T.I. he first got interested in the cannabis industry after his brother-in-law opened some marijuana dispensaries.
He can’t live without a wife
Tyson, who has been married three times, talked to T.I. about why he has always been married. “I got married three times cause I can’t live without a wife,” he said. “If I don’t have a wife, I’ll kill myself. I need somebody to listen to. I’m just that person. I’m a soldier. I can’t think on my own. I need someone to listen to. On my own, I’m violent.”
Iron Mike credits his third wife, Kiki Tyson, with rescuing him from despair when he was addicted to drugs and for making life relevant. He met Kiki, born Lakiha Spicer, when she was 18. Her father, Shamsud-din Ali, was an influential Muslim cleric in Philadelphia who knew promoter Don King and often took his daughter to boxing events, according to the New York Post. King warned Tyson: “Stay away from her. Don’t go talking to that girl. Leave these people alone. These are not the people to mess with.”
“It was like moth to a flame,” Kiki said later. “I’m just happy I got involved with her,” Tyson said. “It’s truly a life-saving experience.”