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Iron Mike Tyson arrested

This is off-topic, I know, but still...Mike Tyson was arrested, according to the AP:

Mike Tyson was arrested early Friday on suspicion of driving under the influence and possession of cocaine after police stopped him shortly after he left a Scottsdale nightclub.

The top five sports headlines that should generate the least amount of surprise in sports fans:

  1. Ken Griffey, Jr., suffers injury, will miss 6-8 weeks
  2. NHL television ratings disappoint
  3. Greg Oden declares for the 2007 NBA Draft
  4. Al Davis (insert any random, ill-advised decision)
  5. Mike Tyson arrested
The thing that I find interesting about this is that, much like with Bo Jackson, I don't think folks under the age of, say, 30 or so can truly appreciate the Mike Tyson phenomenon.

I think it is like when I was a kid, and would see Orson Welles in a wine commercial, or Marlon Brando all fat and sloppy in Superman, and couldn't understand why adults thought they were so praiseworthy.

This no doubt sounds stupid now, but in the late 80s, there were serious discussions about whether Mike Tyson was the greatest heavyweight of all time, particularly after Tyson knocked out Michael Spinks in the first round of their bout. When Tyson was in the ring, the question wasn't whether he would win, but how quickly he'd knock out his opponent, how devastating would the knockout be.

And to go with that, he had what seemed to be the perfect background...a thug kid growing up on the streets, saved from a life of crime by a guard in juvie who saw his potential, trained him, and turned him over to the legendary Cus D'Amato, who molded him into a champion.

Tyson studied old fight films, showed knowledge and respect for the fighters who came before him. He had terrific technique, was a great defensive fighter. In an era when boxers were coming into the ring with elaborate silken robes with their names embroidered on the back, Tyson would come into the ring just wearing a towel with a hole torn in it for his head to fit through.

It is amazing to me to think that it has been almost 17 years since Tyson was knocked out by Buster Douglas. I remember watching that fight...and to this day, it is the most stunning sporting event I've ever experienced.

Tyson's long, dramatic fall has been well documented, to the point that he's almost a caricature, a cartoon version of what he once was. Tyson getting arrested for a DUI and coke possession is so expected that I'm a little surprised it hasn't happened before.

But I just thought it was worth taking a moment to note, regardless of his failings, how great a boxer -- and how incredible a phenomenon -- he was, if only for a few years.