A Busy NBA Finals Off Day Down In Miami With Boxing Legend Mike Tyson

Sports Media World and Sports Illustrated connect on a feature on Boxing Legend Mike Tyson in Miami Beach during the NBA Finals:

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MIAMI — Archeologists recently discovered the remnants of an ancient Native American civilization in downtown Miami. Surrounded by towering, glittering buildings, whatever is left of the Tequestas, whose history dates back thousands of years, has slowly been uncovered. The findings have included portions of a village and even a burial ground, which the Miami Herald reported was destroyed to make way for a hotel long ago. The discoveries have slowed development projects, as city officials decide how to proceed while weighing this history against the future.

Just minutes from one of these sites, Mike Tyson plops down on a brown couch in a Brickell high-rise condominium. The 47-year-old Tyson happens to know a thing or two about buried skeletons, and he admits that he can feel the tug from the past as he tries to craft a new, functional life after retiring from boxing eight years ago.

Nevertheless, he is plowing forward in earnest with his latest venture as the frontman, namesake and promoter for Iron Mike Productions, which is staging made-for-TV fights. His fingerprints are all over the new company’s efforts, from selecting the matchups, to mentoring the younger fighters, to attending the events to generate buzz, to leveraging his name to land national television broadcasts. To an outsider, he looks and sounds a lot more like an entrepreneur than an ex-con when discussing the project.

“My prior life, besides being successful in the particular sport that I invested in, was basically sex, drugs, alcohol, violence. Topped off with sex, drugs, alcohol and violence,” Tyson tells SI.com on Wednesday. “I don’t believe I’m that person now. … I’m just a very sick person. I’m not a bad person. My actions would appear that I’m bad. That’s what society defines as bad. I’ve got some emotional issues and probably mental issues too. But I feel like I’m winning the fight. It’s not over, but I think I’m winning now.”

His strategy, it seems, is to stay as busy as possible. He sat courtside with his 16-year-old son, Amir, for the Spurs’ Game 3 victory over the Heat in the NBA Finals, and he is returning for Thursday’s Game 4. Also on Wednesday afternoon’s docket: Tyson met with fans at the Dominican Republic’s Consulate in Miami and scooted across town for an in-studio radio interview, as he hypes a July 10 fight between Argenis Mendez and Rances Barthelemy at the AmericanAirlines Arena. Tyson hopes that he will have enough time that night for a birthday dinner with his third wife, Kiki, and fumbles briefly when asked how they celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary, which was earlier this month. “I bought her some flowers,” he says, finally, with a shake of the head. “I have such a busy schedule. [Promoting] is different for me.”

Tyson is driven to the interview in a Rolls-Royce Ghost, which is comped because the former undisputed heavyweight champion is still — before everything else — one of the most recognizable celebrities in the country. The car stops briefly before it parks, so that a driver can exit his pickup truck at a red light to wave to Tyson. As soon as Tyson steps out of his car, he faces a line of fans who clutch smartphones rather than Sharpies. He dutifully hands out the 2014 autograph — a smiling selfie — to building residents, front-desk staff members and gawkers. This scene repeats itself time and again every day, according to those working with him.

The only request Tyson refuses? To pose in front of the luxury vehicle, saying that doing so would make him uncomfortable. He doesn’t openly reference his financial situation during the 30-minute conversation — according to reports, he has blown through hundreds of millions of dollars — but he repeatedly stresses that he’s now pounding the pavement instead of floating along.

“[I had to] adapt in order to survive,” he says of his new career, which is being undertaken with Florida businessman Garry Jonas. “If I wasn’t able to adapt, I don’t know what I would be doing. I’m a good student. I’m really good at emulating things. I can imitate this, I can do that. Probably not to the apex of that genre, but I can do it.”

For the rest of the article: http://www.si.com/nba/point-forward/2014/06/12/mike-tyson-lebron-james-nba-finals

A segment of this article also appeared in the print edition of Sports Illustrated Magazine 

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Posted on June 13, 2014, in Boxing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on A Busy NBA Finals Off Day Down In Miami With Boxing Legend Mike Tyson.

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