Home » On Broadway: Mike Tyson and Spike Lee unite in a real rags to riches American story

On Broadway: Mike Tyson and Spike Lee unite in a real rags to riches American story

A story about Iron Mike’s re-emergence to acceptability

By DiMarkco Chandler

If you’re Mike Tyson these days, your stock has risen by one thousand percent as he finds himself bankable enough to attract a Broadway audience, which is not an easy feat. The 45-year-old former Heavyweight Champion is fighting comeback and winning with the help of movie director Spike Lee. Tyson is fighting back to respectability because it was not that long ago that he was, in his own words, “totally destitute and broke.” This admission has softened the rough and mean perception once held by a large constituency of American People. It’s admitting you’ve bottomed out and are in need of redemption that seems to resonate in our nation.

Many of us remember Iron Mike as aggressively spending money as he rose through the boxing ranks. Whether we like it or not, we were all enablers because we either enjoyed seeing him win by knocking his opponent out or we loved to see him lose, rooting for his demise in life’s ring of hard knocks.

To really understand the magnitude of the boxer’s fall, we have to realize that Tyson roughly earned $300 million throughout his career, and not only did he go broke but the fighter actually fell $27 million in debt. We know this because in 2003, he filed for bankruptcy.

His financial downfall appears to have been expedited after his loss to another former Champion, Evander Holyfield. After biting Holyfield’s ear, his boxing license was revoked, and he was mandated to pay a $3 million fine. This downward slide included a barrage of arrests, lawsuits, fines and settlements. He was burdened with attorney fees, and payments to ex-wives and staff payrolls. A court even ordered him to pay an ex-trainer a half a million dollars for firing him without a cause. And remember he still had his extravagant life to maintain; a lifestyle that cost about $400k a month. So when he filed chapter 11, bankruptcy in 2003, Tyson was almost completely broke.

This rollercoaster ride down to the bottom forced Tyson into becoming a regular guy. Ultimately, it forced him to live within his means. His experiences have perhaps engendered a certain kind of perspective on life that he and he alone can communicate. It’s the kind of perspective that can attract Broadway Theater goers.

In enters the highly successful Spike Lee. With Spike Lee’s money, directorial skills and reputation backing your project, chances are that your chances for success are nearly a done deal. It should be fun to observe this potential real life from rags to riches back to rages to riches story play out on the stage of American history let alone on Broadway’s Stage of Success.