It happens every year around this time like clockwork. The fall season marches closer and closer and Hip-Hop prepares for one of its most significant and darkest days: September 13th. Nearly 15 years after taking his last breath in a Las Vegas hospital, the life and times of Tupac Shakur has been dissected by every medium known to man, including TSS.
That is, every medium except ESPN, until now. On September 7th, exactly 14 years to the day he was shot, the network will air One Night in Vegas as a continuation of their 30 For 30 series. The Reggie Bythewood directed piece will focus not only on the shooting which occurred mere hours after Mike Tyson’s destruction of Bruce Seldon, but more importantly on the brotherhood type bond the two shared. If executed correctly, this installment has the potential to find itself along with The Two Escobars, Without Bias and The U as some of the series’ gems. I’m excited to see this. On one hand, I’m a big Pac fan so it’s not like I wouldn’t watch it to begin with. On the other, the world doesn’t need another documentary on his death or the impact his life had on others. It’s been done before and I don’t see anything topping Tupac: Resurrection.
I have, however, always been intrigued by the relationship Pac and Mike had. They were two of the 90s most rebellious entities who both happened to be bonded by struggle. It’s even crazier when you realize they were convicted for basically the same crime. Aside from scenes from documentaries and the occasional interview, much still isn’t known about the two’s friendship.
“He looked very destructive. He came across as a world beater,” Tyson said. “As far as his music was concerned, his presence and his energy … the word I’m looking for is fearless. He came across as fearless. When you come across somebody that’s fearless, you’re a little bit in awe. You’re like. ‘Whoa!’ He’s ready to blow, too, at any moment; very volatile. He’s very focused. He can go from one second to the next and get very focused.”
The fact that it will be told largely from Mike’s perspective only sweetens the pot. Looking back, the two were at identical points in their respective careers on September 7th, 1996. They were fresh off prison bids with a captivating similarity attached to their brands—both largely shunned upon by mainstream society for their controversial pasts—but desperately needed in their fields’ artistic futures. The two were stuck with the near impossible task of moving forward with so many outside forces promoting immaturity. If anyone understood what Pac meant when he screamed “me against the world,” it was Iron Mike.
Pending Bythewood accurately depicts this, many (who never took the time to) will learn something about Tupac Shakur and Mike Tyson they didn’t know before. They weren’t just thugs. They weren’t just looking for trouble at every turn. They weren’t just two entertainers from the ghetto. They were icons.
Presented by Cadillac, ESPN’s One Night In Vegas premieres Tuesday September 7th, 2010 at 8PM on ESPN.