Over the years, I’ve had the chance to speak one-on-one with a variety of notable celebrities, entertainment personalities and sports figures.
However, my recent interview with Mike Tyson is probably the most cathartic and personal interview I’ve done to date. For starters, it wasn’t one of those rushed red carpet interviews where the handler is ushering the talent away after two seconds (I always think of when I interviewed Nina Dobrev of The Vampire Diaries and the handler nudged her away after one question).
Celebrating the release of his new book “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth” and the HBO Special of the same name, Tyson sat down to talk with me at length about his dynamic life – outside of the ring.
As a child growing up in East Flatbush, Brooklyn during the reign of the knockout champ, my childhood friends and I would often look-up to Tyson. He was more than just a boxer for kids from the neighborhood, especially since most of us had played Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out on the NES game console. Tyson was a superhero from Brooklyn, who could knock down an opponent in 30 seconds flat.
But forget all that. Before interviewing Tyson, I watched Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth, a taping of Tyson’s one-man show on Broadway that will be airing on HBO on Nov 16. It gave me a chance to relate to Tyson in a more personal way. Plus he’s just hilarious to watch on stage as he interacts with the crowd and plays off their energy.
Instead of the boxer and controversial figure people had come to know, I was granted access to a humble man who had gone through – and survived – a series of arduous trials. Undisputed Truth is Tyson’s own Book of Job.
In this interview, Tyson and I chat about life in Brooklyn, his Bruce Lee journey of “adaptability”, comic books, role models, code switching and much more. He even has his eyes set on playing a certain Marvel Comics, X-Men villain in the movies. So if you’re watching Bryan Singer, you may want to check this one out.
You can catch HBO’s exclusive presentation of Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth Saturday, Nov 16 at 8PM.