When it comes to Mike Tyson and his older brother Rodney, the former heavyweight champion has pulled no punches. He said he and Rodney were too far apart in age to have much in common. Tyson was the young one who wanted to inflict pain on people, while Rodney was the scientist-type guy. Tyson went on to pummel opponents in the boxing ring, while his brother went on to become a surgeon.
Tyson once cut his brother Rodney with a razor while he was sleeping
Mike Tyson was troubled as a youngster. He had been arrested 38 times before he was a teenager. He was brought up mainly by his mother, but did have a brother Rodney, who was five years older. the two, however, never really got along. In Tyson’s 2014 book Undisputed Truth, Tyson said they didn’t have much in common and Rodney was “a weird dude.”
Tyson recalled a couple of incidents which may indicate why he and Rodney weren’t very close. “We’re black guys from the ghetto and he was like a scientist – he had these little test tubes and was always experimenting. I was like: ‘White people do this stuff.’ He once went to the chemistry lab at Pratt Institute, a nearby college, and got some chemicals to do an experiment. A few days later, when he was out, I snuck into his room and started adding water to his test tubes, and I blew out the whole back window, starting a fire in his room.”
Then there was the time Tyson cut his brother with a razor while he was sleeping. “I fought with him a lot, but it was just typical stuff. Except for the day that I cut him with a razor. He had beaten me up for some reason and then he had gone to sleep. My sister, Denise, and I were watching one of those doctor-type soap operas and she said: ‘We could do that and Rodney could be the patient.’”
“So we rolled up his sleeve and got to work on his left arm, ‘scalpel,’ I said and my sister handed me the razor. I cut him a bit and he started bleeding. I said: ‘We need the alcohol, nurse’ and she passed it to me and I poured it onto his cuts. He woke up screaming and yelling, chasing us around the house – he still has those slices to this day.”
Mike Tyson said his brother hasn’t read his book
Although they both went on to have very successful professional lives, Mike Tyson went the boxing route, while Rodney Tyson went on to be surgeon. The two haven’t spoken much and Mike Tyson said his brother had not read his book after it was published.
“I was used to living in a slum, in a condemned building,” Mike Tyson said. But my brother never talks about that. It must affect him. He said to me last time we spoke: ‘I heard you have a magnificent book … ‘ But he hasn’t read it. He’s just so far away from that world.”
Mike Tyson went on to say that his brother was too far removed from the days when the family was poor and on hard times. “He’s the No. 1 trauma guy in the country,” Mike Tyson said. ” He’s awesome. He’s taken bullets out of some of my friends. He’s stitched them up and they’ve said: ‘Mike do you know your brother is a surgeon … ‘ I say: ‘Yeah, I know.’ We don’t have a close connection. Too many demons, too much pain.”
Rodney Tyson hasn’t said much about his brother
Maybe he wants to forget the past. Maybe he wants to keep his family life private. In any case, Rodney Tyson hasn’t said a whole lot about the fact he is the brother of Mike Tyson, who went on to win 50 professional fights, 44 via knockout. He was the biggest, baddest boxer in his day.
Rodney Tyson does his talking as a surgeon. It’s clear he doesn’t want to say a whole lot about his brother. In 1997, he spoke to a group of troubled youths and gave them some advice. “Anybody can call himself a tough guy and pick up a gun, but the real tough guy is the one who hits the books and goes to practice and goes to work,” he said. “It’s not glamorous, but you sleep better at night and you don’t have to worry about people coming to kill you or having the police coming over and giving you and your family grief.”
In a Newsday article way back in the mid-1990s, Rodney Tyson made mention of his little brother Mike. “As long as he’s doing something with his hands without putting them in other people’s pockets, we’re happy,” he said back then.