Story by Amir Shaw
Images by Evans Smith for Steed Media Service
“I love Mike Tyson because he did it his way.” –Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Today, Mike Tyson finds happiness in simplicity. During our visit to his home in suburban Las Vegas, the former heavyweight champion was a bit reserved until he got the opportunity to show off his beloved pigeon coop.
Tyson explains the nuances and habits of his pigeons just like an accomplished trainer would break down the fundamentals of boxing. Once Tyson allowed his pigeons to fly, he pointed out how the tumbler pigeons would roll over backward during flight. Some pigeons would do so at speeds so fast that they would often kill themselves or come close to death because they didn’t have time to land correctly.
In a sense, the tumbler pigeons mirror Tyson’s life during his younger days. Living fast and reckless only to narrowly escape death or destruction.
Growing up poor in Brooklyn, N.Y., during the 1980s could have that type of effect. Tyson became another soul consumed by the tragedies created by poverty.
“All of my friends were animals,” Tyson revealed while reminiscing about his turbulent childhood.
“We would rob guys. I grew up in a dysfunctional situation where drugs and violence were normal. I would’ve been a drug dealer. When I was starting my pro career and only making like $500 per fight, I used to always hook my boys up with money for crack to sell. But my whole life changed when they killed my friend over a drug deal gone bad. From then on, I never went back to hustling and I stayed focused on boxing.”