Tonight (September 7), ESPN will premiere its highly anticipated documentary “One Night in Vegas: Tyson & Tupac.”
The piece is part of ESPN’s critically acclaimed “30 for 30” series that so far has covered cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar’s influence in soccer, and the Muhammad Ali’s final title fight against protegé Larry Holmes. Tonight’s documentary will cover the details behind the friendship between Tyson and Shakur.
Tupac Shakur was gunned down in Las Vegas on September 7 after attending Mike Tyson’s title-winning effort against Bruce Seldon. Shakur was in route to an after-party when he fell victim to a drive-by shooting. The case remains unsolved 14 years later.
“He always wanted me to smoke weed with him, and I never did it, and I wish I did. That’s my biggest regret,” Tyson explained to the Associated Press when recalling his bond with Shakur. “He didn’t last long, but the time he did last, every minute, every tenth of a moment was explosive.”
The pair became acquainted while Tyson was serving time in prison for his 1992 rape conviction. Shakur regularly sent messages and letters to Tyson until his release in 1995. The roles were reversed that same year in February when Shakur began serving time for a controversial sexual abuse conviction.
“Every day, he would call me or get a chance to call me or send a message,” Tyson revealed. “He would get word to me in prison.”
Despite the adoration from fans, both men were cognizant that they were targets. They both were distrustful of associates and even long-time friends. Tupac, who had a close friendship with New Jersey emcee Treach, still did not approve of Tyson using the music of another Jersey lyricist, Redman.
Although Shakur recorded with Redman for his 1996 album All Eyez On Me (“Got My Mind Made Up”), he remained suspicious of all his peers following his 1994 shooting and feuds with East Coast emcees.
“He said, ‘Don’t you ever play those fucking songs again, they don’t give a fuck about you,'” Tyson recounted of Shakur’s warnings. “When he said that, it pierced my soul… I felt like I did something wrong.”
ESPN’s “One Night in Vegas: Tyson & Tupac” airs at 8PM ET.