Over the course of his boxing career, Tyson was a formidable and downright scary opponent with a "take no prisoners" attitude. The former heavyweight champion famously said he wanted to eat Lennox Lewis’ heart and children, and controversially bit a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear off.
So it’s easy to see why Tyson maybe wasn’t considered cute and cuddly.
Now that he’s retired, Tyson is revamping his image. He’s spoken publicly about being committed to his family. He’s turned vegan and is even trying his hand at acting — as seen in his cameo role in the blockbuster comedy The Hangover, as well as a recent guest spot on HBO’s Entourage. He even has a reality show coming out on Animal Planet about pigeon racing.
His new public image is a huge departure from his checkered past involving violence, drugs and prostitution. Tyson recently discussed his many indiscretions in a Sports Illustrated interview, including when he served three years in prison after being convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington, Miss Black Rhode Island, in an Indianapolis hotel room.
Tyson is far from unique in that sense, joining a lengthy list of famous athletes who’ve gone to the slammer.
The Dallas Cowboys’ Thomas "Hollywood" Henderson served jail time after being convicted of sexual assault and doing drugs with two teenage girls. Henderson won $28 million in the Texas Lotto in 2000, nearly 20 years after his prison sentence, and currently gives anti-drug motivational speeches.
Pete Rose, baseball’s all-time hits leader, spent five months in federal prison for tax evasion in 1990.
Former Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones lied to federal agents who were investigating the BALCO conspiracy and served six months in prison.
NFL quarterback Michael Vick spent nearly two years in prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring.
Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson is currently serving a sentence in Nevada after being found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping, among other charges.
While being imprisoned is usually a bad thing, Tyson’s look back on his time spent in the Big House was positive. Maybe he’s just crazy, or maybe it really did do him some good.
In other news, Ozzie Guillen sticks up for Latino baseball players, Patriots owner Robert Kraft explains Wes Welker’s resilience and Shaquille O’Neal proclaims his greatness.
"In a weird way, prison was the best thing that happened to me. Imagine if I was out here from '92 to '95 — I probably would have caught AIDS, I would've got shot, I would've got into all kinds of [expletive]. You have no idea what kind of person I was on the street, when I was in Mike Tyson megalomaniac mode."
–Mike Tyson, in Sports Illustrated, speaks candidly about his illicit past
"He's been through a lot this last week. He really needed that victory. That's pretty cool. I'm sure he's really hard to handle for all those nurses in the hospital."
—Carl Edwards, in the AP, on Jack Roush’s condition after fellow Roush Fenway driver Greg Biffle’s Sprint Cup victory at Pocono Raceway
"He's huge in this defense, but we'd find our way without him."
–New York Jets safety Jim Leonhard, on ESPN.com, reacts to Darrelle
Revis potentially holding
out past training camp
"I'm the only one to teach the Latinos about not to use [PEDs]. I'm the
only one and Major League Baseball doesn't [care]. All they care about
— how many times I argue with the umpires, what I say to the media. But
I'm the only one in baseball to come up to the Latino kids and say not
to use this and I don't get any credit for that."
–Ozzie Guillen, in the AP, alleging that MLB is prejudiced against Latino
"For any guy our size, for all of America, what he represents is so special. His DNA is different because he can take those hits, do things other people just can't do."
–Patriots owner Rober Kraft, on WEEI.com, reacts to Wes Welker’s surprisingly fast recovery from a knee injury
"We didn't score any runs, that's why we lost the game."
–Yankees manager Joe Girardi, in the AP, after the team’s shutout
loss to the Rays on Sunday
"When you’re acquiring bullpen help, there’s certainly some amount of a
crapshoot with it."
–Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on WEEI.com, addresses the
uncertainty involved in trading for bullpen
talent before the trade deadline
"They're playing their fannies off. We're just playing well enough to
get beat, and that's not good."
–Tigers manager Jim Leyland, in the AP, after losing
to the Red Sox in the bottom of the ninth inning
"I'm not trying to hurt him, but damned if I ain't trying to go 100 percent every time I put my hand on the ground."
—Darnell Dockett, on ESPN.com, after potentially injuring Matt Leinart, the only quarterback on his team.
"I wouldn’t say that one is any better than the other. They both have their days. It’s like a girlfriend. They have good days. They have bad days. You wake up and you roll with the punches."
–Wes Welker, to reporters at training camp, answering the question of whether his shoulder or his knee is in better condition.
"[I] changed three different franchises around. This is a guy who they [league officials] would have secret meetings about to change the rules. So, that's going to be my legacy: The most dominant player ever."
–Shaquille O’Neal, in the Toronto Sun, describes his contribution to the game of basketball