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Boxing legend Mike Tyson gives an emotional speech at UNLV basketball practice

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Steve Marcus

Boxer Mike Tyson, former undisputed heavyweight champion, responds to a question during an interview at his home in Henderson Friday, Feb. 24, 2012. Tyson will star in “Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth - Live on Stage,” a one-man show on the Strip.

Tyson inspires Rebels at practice

KSNV coverage of UNLV Rebels getting a pep talk from Mike Tyson, March 6, 2012.

Two Las Vegas staples that were huge in the ’90s and are once again in the headlines met for about five minutes Tuesday afternoon.

Boxing legend Mike Tyson, who recently announced that he’d be performing a one-man show in April at the MGM Grand, stopped by UNLV basketball practice as the Rebels prepare for Thursday’s game against Wyoming. The players stole glances at the man who was the heavyweight champion when most of them were born, and then a little more than halfway through the practice, UNLV coach Dave Rice gathered all the players around so that Tyson could address the team.

“He came in and dropped some knowledge on us,” sophomore forward Mike Moser said.

ESPN 1100 radio host Seat Williams had Tyson on the show recently, and afterward Tyson asked if he could drop by UNLV’s practice. Williams passed it on to Rice, who was more than happy to accommodate the former champ. The speech, though, was more impromptu, and it clearly came from Tyson’s heart as he broke down a little bit while talking about reaching the top level.

“He got emotional thinking about not understanding how you couldn’t want to be a champion,” Moser said. “Guys come in and really don’t put in the work but say they want something. I took that away, just always remembering that you’ve got to work hard for the goals ahead.”

Tyson will be one of many Las Vegas residents pulling for the Rebels, and don’t be surprised if Rice or a couple of the players make it to Tyson’s show.

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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  1. This is outstanding, I have gained so much respect for Mike Tyson over the past few years. He is a true Las Vegan and is doing a lot for our community. His speach to the Rebels sounds like it really came from one champion to the next generation of champions. This is what sports and specifically college atheletics is all about - HEART.