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ESPN 30 For 30 series One Night In Vegas Recap on Mike Tyson and Tupac Shakur

Posted by on September 8, 2010 at 6:48 PM EST

tupac shakur mike tyson espnThe special entitled: ESPN 30 for 30 One Night In Vegas explored the relationship between Mike Tyson and Tupac Shakur and did so, magnificently.

One of the most fascinating hours of television last night was not an HBO drama or a new season premier of a hit show. It aired on ESPN as part of the ongoing series 30 for 30 titled One Night in Vegas. This episode covered the fateful night in Las Vegas where Mike Tyson fought at the new MGM Grand Hotel and beat Bruce Seldon. Later that night, following a fight in the MGM lobby, Tupac Shakur was shot. He would die six days later. One Night in Vegas explores the friendship between these two men as their lives finally come together that fateful night.

Mike Tyson had met Tupac Shakur several years prior to that night. At first they only knew each other as casual acquaintances.  At the time of their first meeting Tyson was the undefeated, unstoppable heavyweight champion of the world. Shakur was an up and coming rapper with a growing following. Tyson was convicted of rape and sentenced to jail and it was there that the two men got to know each other better. Tupac would come visit Tyson in jail. He would send him letters and call him often. The two corresponded and a strong friendship began to form. When Mike Tyson was released from jail, Tupac Shakur was one of the first people he contacted. As Tyson returned to the ring, Shakur was at his side.

Mike Tyson now says that he saw a lot of himself in Tupac. They were both from the streets and had survived troubled childhoods. They had both been accused of sexual abuse and had found major success at a young age. Tyson says of Shakur, “He was fearless. It is a little troubling to be around someone who is not afraid of anything.” For Tyson, a man who comes from a world of violence and became famous for beating people savagely in the ring to be troubled by Tupac’s lack of fear speaks volumes.

One Night in Vegas profiles these two men as their friendship grew and eventually brought them together that night. Earlier the day of the fight Tupac went into a recording studio and recoded a song for Tyson to use as his entrance music. Mike Tyson then destroyed Seldon in a fight many still claim was fixed. As chaos around the controversial win grew, Tupac, his record label owner Suge Knight and their crew spotted a gang member in the MGM lobby that they believed had been robbing a Death Row Records artist. Tupac attack him, Knight and crew jumped in and they delivered a Tyson-like beat down. Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight then got into Knights car and headed to a club where they were planning on meeting Mike Tyson for a party. They would never arrive.

As the two sat in the car at a stoplight on the Vegas Strip, a Cadillac pulled up next to them and passengers from within the car opened fired. Suge Knight was injured, but recovered. Tupac died six days later in the hospital. The shooter was never found.

One of the most haunting moments of the show features a guy who shows the picture he snapped of Tupac just minutes before he was gunned down. While on the strip, he saw Tupac sitting in the car in traffic. He walked up and said hi then asked if he could take a picture. Tupac told him “sure.” Several minutes later Tupac was attacked.

One Night in Vegas is an absorbing tale of two men whose larger than life personalities brought them together as friends. Like two storms meeting they connected in Vegas that night and both men were forever changed by the perfect storm. Tupac Shakur was dead and Mike Tyson would lose his next fight to Evander Holyfield. He would never beat a legitimate opponent again.

As good as the show is, One Night in Vegas has some stylistic problems. There is a comic book style storyboard used throughout it and it occasionally cuts to spoken word performances. Both Mike Tyson and Tupac Shakur are fascinating subjects and the time wasted on these stylistic choices would have been better used with footage of them men in question. These two are interesting enough, there is no need dress the story up to keep viewers attention. If you have any interest in Tyson or Shakur this show is a must see. It is an enthralling tale of two men and one night that will forever live in infamy.



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