“It was just supposed to be just another night in Vegas… Tupac was more than just another emcee, just like Tyson was more than just another athlete… It was supposed to be just another night in Vegas.”
In “One Night In Vegas,” Reggie Rock Bythewood did a fantastic job in telling the story of the events that led to the friendship between boxer Mike Tyson and rapper Tupac Shakur, up until the night it ended – and it was a friendship that a lot of us didn’t even know existed before watching the premiere of the 30 for 30 film.
Off top, the film was presented brilliantly. It began with two spoken word artists and included highlights from Tyson’s boxing career, snippets of Tupac music videos and used comic book-style animations of some of the major events, essentially saying that Tyson and ‘Pac were heroes in some sense, and they were. Mike Tyson’s size and aggression made him the Incredible Hulk to Tupac’s Batman, with his ubiquitous utility belt of talents. The omnipresent interviews from Mike Tyson down to journalists, friends, and family of Tupac helped move story of both men that kept us captivated like we had no idea of what was going to happen.
What made “One Night in Vegas” so appealing to sports and music fans alike was the fact that it featured two of the most larger than life characters in black culture history. We’re talking about who may be the most influential hip-hop artist in the history of the genre and the most polarizing boxer in the sport’s history. I have dropped what I was doing more than once to watch or read something on either Tupac or Iron Mike, and “One Night in Vegas” spent an hour talking about two of the most interesting men of the early ‘90s. Tyson fights were family gatherings and Tupac’s music was discussed among the masses in a way that cannot, and will not, ever happen again.
I was only seven years old, but I remember watching that fight at my uncle’s house. And I remember him waking me and my cousin up that next morning telling us that ‘Pac had been shot while we slept. That will forever remain one of those moments where you remember where you were and how you found out about it. It was hard to imagine someone so powerful being reduced to a hospital bed, just as it was hard to imagine Iron Mike going down – which is exactly what he did in his next fight. “One Night in Vegas” was one of the better films in the 30 for 30 series, because it captured the best and the worst of two of pop culture’s most recognizable figures and shed new light upon two men we already knew so much about.
If you happened to miss “One Night in Vegas,” it airs again on Thursday, September 9 at 10 p.m. on ESPN Classic and September 30 at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk (and hopefully on the radio soon) show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!