Editor's note: Mike Tyson's retirement story was first published on May 30, 2013. Watch Tyson's biggest game on Saturday on ESPN starting at 7pm. ET.
MIKE TYSON Show me his dove
We were in the backyard of his house on a porch overlooking Las Vegas – a high ceiling cushion he bought from basketball player Jalen Rose five years ago – where he had the Wooden cage for 100 flyers. The dove followed Tyson everywhere, from Brooklyn's worst slum to Ohio to LA to Vegas – wherever he set up his life, however fleeting. As a boy, Tyson would go to the roof of his Brooklyn apartment to check on birds. Once, another boy grabbed one of their heads, and Mike Tyson – all 10 years old – also broke. That was his first win.
Throwing corn on the porch, letting them jump from open cages to eat, Tyson, normally a little chat, became silent. "This is my peaceful time," he said. "I don't say much about them."
The pigeons are surprisingly beautiful, with white fur, a green light on the neck. But he seems to be removed from his beloved birds.
"I didn't touch pigeons as much as when I was little," Tyson explained in that particular soft, husky voice. "If something goes wrong with them or they get sick, I grab them, but normally I keep my distance."
That surprised me, I told him. I think they are more like pets.
And suddenly Mike Tyson hugged me from the side hugging the bear, and he was rushing into my shoulder, then …