Last night, I had the great pleasure of seeing Mike Tyson’s Broadway debut, recounting the events of his life in Undisputed Truth. The show, written by his wife Kiki Tyson and directed by Spike Lee (DJ Clark Kent provides the soundtrack), was full of laughter and tears. I grew up with Tyson as the face of modern boxing; however, my feelings on him were a bit unclear. I came away with a newfound respect for the man.
The Mike Tyson story is about a life coming full circle. Tyson was a man that was committed to his craft and became the best. However, being the best at something comes with its turmoil’s, and Mike dealt with them head on, as any man can in his twenties with millions of dollars in his pocket and a penchant for knocking people out can. Today you find a proud yet apologetic Tyson. I viewed him as one who was taken advantage of by greedy fight promoters and eager women, and he now wants the world to see him in a new light.
The Mike Tyson of today is portrayed as that of a family man. A man more proud of the accomplishments of his children than the belts he wears. His demeanor is soft, warm, and loveable…not to mention hilarious. His stories had me mesmerized, as was the audience, when not laughing hysterically. You feel compassion for the man, whose past puts him in the category of a superstar in his own right.
While many critics may pick apart the lack of “tightness” in the performance, I was overwhelmed by the charisma of the man. His garbled speech only forced me to pay closer attention to what he was saying. He was real, and that is hard to come by in a show on Broadway.
Only after researching the subject a bit to write this, I found that Tyson had been threatened via Twitter prior to this performance. The enormous NYPD presence now makes sense in retrospect. However, threatening celebrities, let alone Iron Mike, makes little sense upon seeing this show. Undisputed Truth is the successful attempt of a man making amends with his past, celebrating his present, and looking forward to his future…something I hope to do myself.
To me, Mike Tyson is no longer a sports personality; he’s a legend.
Watch some of Mike’s highlights