The Greatness That is a Mike Tyson Interview
I worked at a small call center many years ago doing IT support for the employees. It was way outside of the city and I was the only black person that worked in the building. They were the nicest people ever, but they introduced to a few things that I have never heard of before.
One of those things was something called:
THE DEAD POOL
Basically you are in a pool with a bunch of people (similar to a fantasy football draft) and you select people who you think are going to die. If your person dies then you win the money in the pool and then it starts over.
Totally morbid and I did not want to be involved in something like that (karma), but my curiosity got the best of me and I asked who was the #1 pick.
And after you read some of these takes from Tyson’s SI.com and Sports Radio interviews you will understand why that was a good bet. Glad he has finally turned his life around, but it is sort of shocking he is still with us today:
On his former lifestyle and women:
“It was everything goes. Just being out there, being Mike, not realizing who I am. The next thing I know I got people saying, ‘Yo man when are you going to pay for these drugs?’ I said, ‘Well you know. What’ the problem? I ain’t got the money. I can’t pay you.’ And he said, ‘Well I got to pay somebody.’ And I said, ‘Tell the guy you got to pay to come talk to me.’ Listen, I’m Mike Tyson, international superstar, and I’m robbing a drug dealer.
On being in the Hangover:
“I was doing that to supply my drug habit. I’m sorry I’m coming at you guys like this… I said, ‘Wow, This is going to be really good. We’re going to sell this stuff on 42nd street on bootleg and make a lot of money.’ This is my best thinking on drugs… It wasn’t that way. It was an international success.
And on the worst part about being 350 pounds:
“It was hard to wipe my butt… I was sweating like some kind of guy from a moon project or something. It was crazy… All the clothes you see me with now are clothes that I had 15, 20 years ago. (Host: Did you have the back fat and everything?) Oh man the back fat. The back fat is when it’s so bad, your ass looks like a board. It’s like boom. The back and ass is one. It’s not like the back goes down and the back protrudes. No. It’s just straight down. And then girls were telling me I looked great. It has to be a money deal. It had to be.”
SI: I imagine you have a few stories from your days as a junkie.
Mike Tyson: Listen: I was in St. Tropez, in the South of France. In Ibiza, Spain. I was in Monte Carlo. I was in the Ukraine, Russia, all those places, for three months. From Russia I went to Lisbon, Portgual, from Portugal I went to Amsterdam. In Amsterdam I met this drug dealer, right? And he sees that I like getting high, and he wants to be my buddy, right? This guy goes and gets me a big rock of cocaine. So pretty soon I got a party going on. I got everything: I got these rugby players. I got these naked girls, I got all these … everything’s going on in the room. Plus I also had this girl with me that I picked up in Romania. But then [the dealer he met in Amsterdam] saw how much of a mess I was. He came in and kicked everybody out of my room! All the nude people, all the people having sex. He said, “I feel so bad I ever gave him that stuff.”
SI: How about in Las Vegas? What would your typical day in Vegas be like?
Tyson: This is how the day would start: I would go to a club, at say, 2 o’clock [a.m.]. Hang out there for what, two hours, and then I’d go to the after-hours [clubs], that start at 6 o’clock [a.m.]. So I’d stay there from 6 in the morning to 7:30 at night. I’d be sitting down and drinking and doing cocaine, talking to girls … doing anything. Everything. Then I make it home and I’m tripping out at home. I’m calling people, I’m tired, but I’ve got people coming in and we’re making plans to go out a few hours later. We’re getting high, staying up, [doing] cocaine. Somebody would be calling me: “Come hang out with me.” So we would go out and get high, till 11 o’clock [p.m.] or something, then go somewhere, to a bar or somewhere. We might go to a club, then get high all day long.
SI: You got involved with prostitutes.
Tyson: Listen, I was living a crazy life. A [prostitute] would go, “There’s that guy who hit me the other day, who took money from me the other day, who intimidated me.” And [that guy] had to give some money up. [I’d say,] “This is my girl, man. She works for me now. This is my girl now.” That’s how it was. I wanted to show loyalty to these people. I was so stupid. I’d say, “If you have a problem, just let me know.” And all these guys would say, “What’s Mike Tyson going to do [to me]?” It was always like that until I got in their f—–‘ ass. I’m a nice man, but back then, I wasn’t. I’m not proud of it.
SI: How many times did you end up going to rehab?
Tyson: I was addicted to rehab. I was like the poster boy, because I would go to like five meetings a day. You were only required to go to one. I would go to five, because I’m an addictive freak. I love hanging out, the camaraderie. It’s just awesome! But you know what people want, too? [Tyson leans in closer, his voice suddenly quieter.] This is what I realized, bro: It gives people family. A way of starting over. [In rehab] we start a new life with new family members. And all they gotta do to stay in this family is not get high, and you gotta try really hard. And then if you do get high? “We got your back.” That’s what I like.
SI: What do you see when you look back at your infamous press conferences?
Tyson: I always wanted to be that guy who said, “F— you.” When I see people doing that, trying to imitate me, these tough guys trying to emulate me, I’m sitting there thinking, like, This guy’s an idiot, so I know I’m an idiot. Floyd Mayweather doesn’t stand a chance as far as that idiocy. He’s not even in my league as an a–hole. He’s a good kid. Everyone’s hard on him, but this is a great kid. He’s just a kid having fun, living in a fantasy world.
SI: What did you make of your time in jail?
Tyson: In a weird way, prison was the best thing that happened to me. Imagine if I was out here from ’92 to ’95 — I probably would have caught AIDS, I would’ve got shot, I would’ve got into all kinds of s—. You have no idea what kind of person I was on the street, when I was in Mike Tyson megalomaniac mode.