Michael Jordan Barely Escaped A Beatdown From Mike Tyson Over Relationship With Robin Givens
“The Last Dance” celebrates Michael Jordan’s iconic legacy and his final season with the Chicago Bulls during the 1997-1998 season, and while it is receiving rave reviews, it doesn’t dive to everything that happened to Jordan.
Jordan almost had his “last meal” way back in 1988 during an uncomfortable dinner in Chicago when Jordan and Mike Tyson were among the select few celebrating Hall of Fame Bears defensive end Richard Dent’s 28th birthday in Chicago.
Bears coach Mike Ditka, Don King and Tyson co-manager Rory Holloway were among the guests that attended this party, which took place shortly after the Bulls played the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 13, 1988.
The heavyweight champion Tyson was currently in the midst of a bitter breakup with ex-wife Robin Givens, and he was well aware that Jordan had previously dated her during his developmental days leading the Bulls. Everything was going fine until Tyson started downing a few drinks and became livid at the sight of MJ.
Holloway, who was Tyson’s manager until 1998, wrote the following passage in his memoir, titled, “Taming the Beast: The Untold Story of Team Tyson.”
“Mike Tyson’s sitting there with his drink of choice, a Long Island Tea, and when he drinks his real feelings come out.
“I’m telling the server to water his drinks down ‘cause I see where this is going. Mike stares across the table at Michael Jordan. He says, ‘Hey man, you think I’m stupid? I know you f—-d with my b—h.’
“Jordan looks like he just seen a ghost. ‘I know you messed with her,’ Mike says. ‘You can tell me.’
“Jordan, it’s obvious he just wants to get up and run. He wants no part of this. Mike turns to Ditka. ‘Man, you think somebody scared of you, all that racist s–t you been talking?’ He says to Dent, ‘Y’all scared of this damn white man, Richard? He ain’t nobody. You gonna let him talk that way?’
“It was a circus, for real, that night. Don King trying to change the subject. Me and John trying to hold Mike down. Mike telling everyone he’s going to bust Jordan’s ass. Jordan’s dressed sharp as always and he can’t get out of there fast enough.”
Ditka would recall the story to the Chicago Sun-Times.
“I think it was in my restaurant, but I’m not positive. It’s silly,” said Ditka. “Michael Jordan is not going to get into an altercation with anyone. He’s a class guy. First of all, the stupidest thing in the world is alcohol. When you drink, you get that mouth running sometimes. That’s probably what happened.”
“It was a little get-together after Michael Jordan’s game. After the game, we had a little get-together at a restaurant. That was about it,” Dent said. [Tyson] said some things to Mike. I don’t recall anything of that nature. I never saw [Jordan] look scared.”
Jordan declined to comment on the encounter with Tyson through a representative for the 2015 Chicago Tribune story.
“I know I’m not crazy, you don’t forget stuff like that,” Holloway said. “I had a lot of funny moments with Mike Tyson … and this was one of them. Michael Jordan was my hero and I’m a big football fan, so I don’t forget something like that.”