What do Dave Pell, Don Van Natta Jr, and Longform all have in common? They all singled out Brin-Jonathan Butler's stellar SB Nation Longform piece on Mike Tyson and Cus D'Amato:
After legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach gave me Mike Tyson's phone number at his Wild Card gym in Los Angeles in the spring of 2010, he giggled "You'll never fucking get in there, kid." But a short time later, on Easter Sunday, I entered Tyson's Henderson, Nevada home through a thick cloud of marijuana smoke and met him for the first time.
I hadn't published a word in my life and had no professional business or official justification to be there. It was entirely personal. All it had taken to walk through Tyson's front door was 140 phone calls to his assistant Darryl — 99 percent of which lasted five seconds and ended with a promise to call back that never came. And then, finally, a fortunate case of mistaken identity got me inside. Both Darryl and Tyson mistook me for a writer then working on Roach's biography, a project that was eventually abandoned.
At the time I met Tyson, as usual, his life resembled a joyride on the Titanic. After 139 calls, Darryl had told me to meet him and Tyson the following day at The Luxor hotel in Las Vegas, where they'd reserved the conference room for our interview. I maxed out the last of my credit cards, flew to Vegas and showed up at the prescribed time. No sign of Tyson or Darryl anywhere. The woman at the Luxor's front desk courteously informed me they had never heard of me or been contacted by any representative of Tyson to arrange anything. She also behaved as though this kind of thing happened with amusing regularity.
It's another sure shot from Butler who is making a habit of delivering quality goods.
[Photo Credit: Ken Regan/Camera 5]