Mike Tyson Announces Reality Show About Secret Obsession: Pigeon Racing
In what will likely remain one of the most bizarre announcements this week, the New York Post is reporting that Mike Tyson -- former heavyweight champion, convicted felon, notorious ear-biter, documentary subject and Hangover actor -- will star in an Animal Planet reality show that showcases his first true love: pigeons. The boxer and the birds go way back, apparently to when Tyson, at the tender age of 10, stole milk cartons to shelter pigeons being kept in his Brownsville neighborhood as pets. But the relationship goes deeper. For instance, would you believe that the birds influenced Tyson to start fighting?
As a child, Tyson cleaned out pigeon cages for his neighbors and in return got to keep the strays as pets that he adored and would later fight to protect: "I never hurt anybody until somebody hurt one of my birds."
Today, Tyson owns a "few hundred" birds which he houses in lofts in Brooklyn and Jersey City. His new Animal Planet show, Take on Tyson, will feature the former boxer as he races his pigeons against some of the top racing-pigeon owners in the city. In order to get his birds in shape for the sometimes 500 mile competitions, Tyson hired professional pigeon trainer Vinnie Torre.
Although details about the show are still fuzzy, the boxer is certain that Take on Tyson will introduce a new demographic to pigeon racing and allow Tyson to stay active in retirement: "I may have stopped fighting but I never stopped flying birds. It's my first love."
· Mike Tyson Reality Series Takes Wing [New York Post]