Spike Lee calls Tyson "the most honest human being I've met in my life"
Mike Tyson has mellowed out. He became a vegan, got married, performed on Broadway. But he warned critics Thursday that he hasn't gone soft.
"Guys, please: Don't get carried away, alright. There's no way I'm Charles Manson but I'm never going to be Mother Teresa, either," he said in a Television Critics Association panel Thursday. "Some good advice is, don't be so quick to understand me. Just don't get too close, and be careful, I will bite you, as you may know."
Tyson made 'em laugh as he and Spike Lee spoke about their upcoming HBO special "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth." Lee, who directed Tyson in the one-man Broadway show that Lee filmed for HBO, said Tyson was "the most honest human being I've met in my life."
"Most human beings are not going to display the dark parts of themselves, the demons they have, to the world," Lee said. "Mike, when you see this… he's out there on this stage naked. Sharing his experiences, his ups and downs. … He says I'm gonna tell you the truth. This is my life. Do with it what you will. It's the most courageous thing I've seen in my life. I couldn't do it. And most people couldn't do it."
Tyson was asked about those ups and downs. He has been the heavyweight champion, gone to prison for rape, and performed on Broadway. He was asked what he would change if he could.
"I couldn't change. If I changed it I wouldn't have this life that I have now that's pretty awesome," he said. "And not many regrets that I have in life. Not many. I wish I was a better father but I guess that comes along with me being the father that I am now."
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Tyson has eight children, including a daughter, Exodus, who died in 2009 in an accident with a treadmill. He married his wife, Lakiha "Kiki" Spicer, two weeks after the death. She wrote Tyson's one-man show.
Lee recalled his long friendship with Tyson, which went back to 1986, when he was making his mark as a filmmaker and Tyson was becoming the world's most formidable boxer. He recalled Tyson once nearly running him over in Brooklyn, then telling him to get in for a ride.
He said him and Tyson still hang out sometimes, but not all the time. Tyson explained why.
"I hang out with a guy who might shoot you, and Spike's gonna hang out with an erudite jazz player," he said.