One of my best autograph collecting trips ever – Mike Tyson and Jack Nicholson in Las Vegas, 1999
I had always wanted to experience a Mike Tyson fight live. I was in my teenage years when “Iron Mike” ruled the world. The height of which would be the 1st round knock-out of Michael Spinx in 1988. If you weren’t around or remember Tyson in the eighties – you don’t realize how the whole world just stopped when Tyson was going to fight. The pay-per-view audience would set records. The bars would be full.
When Tyson had a planned fight in Las Vegas during January of 1999, with a collector friend we decided to finally go see a Mike Tyson fight live. And of course, we would make it a collecting trip – so we were packing the “merch” too.
A few days before Tyson was scheduled to fight we caught up to Mike as he entering the MGM Grand just prior to the official weigh-in. Mike was great about stopping to sign a few items for us including boxing trunks, gloves, a few photos, and thankfully.. my Herb Ritts print.
On fight night. I got another unexpected surprise. I immediately spotted Jack Nicholson sitting first row. I knew Jack loved the fight so I did come prepared – with a few beautiful Herb Ritts prints safely tucked in my bag. The second I saw Jack – I made the decision. The minute the fight was over. I was going to make a break for the floor section. I didn’t know exactly how. I just knew that somehow I was getting up to Jack to ask him to sign my pieces. And thankfully, I did.
After the fight, I also ran into Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson. Magic was cool about posing for a picture but wouldn’t sign any autographs (and he also was photographed by Herb Ritts and is part of the collection). So while it was a little disappointing not to get Magic to sign the piece I did have in my bag – I still consider it one of my best collecting trips ever. I even remember winning a little at the blackjack tables that weekend too!