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Mike Tyson

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Mike Tyson Case Study
Nie-shia Randolph
Colorado Technical University Online

Mike Tyson Case Study Michael Gerard Tyson was born on June 30, 1966 in Brooklyn, New York to parents Jimmy Kirkpatrick and Lorna Tyson. When Mike was two years old his father left his family, leaving his mother to take care of him and his two siblings Rodney and Denise. Struggling to stay afloat Tyson’s mother moved her family to Brownsville, a section in Brooklyn (Mike Tyson biography, 1996-2013)

As a child Tyson was small and shy this cause him to be the target of bullying. Tyson decided to learn how to fight to protect him from the bully’s in his neighborhood. This helped him to develop his own style of street fighting. Tyson stated to indulge in more criminal activities. He ran with a gang called the Jolly stompers. Tyson role with the gang was to clean out cash registers while the older people in the gang held victims at gun point. Tyson was only 11 years old at the time. His involvement with the gang has caused Tyson to develop a criminal background. At the age of 13 Tyson had been arrested more than 30 times. His criminal behavior landed in a reform school in upstate New York. At the reform school Tyson met counselor Bob Stewart. Bob was an amateur boxing champion. Tyson began to show interest in boxing he asked Bob to teach him how to use his fists. Bob agree to teach Tyson what he knew if Mike agreed to stay out of trouble and work harder in school. Mike managed to stay out of trouble and he got good grades in school. Mike dedicated his every waking moment to practicing his punches and learning the in’s and out of professional boxing
In 1980 Bob introduce Tyson to the legendary boxing manager Constantine D’Amato. Constantine allowed Tyson to move in with him. During his stay Constantine taught Tyson everything he needed to know about boxing. A rigorous training schedule was set up for him to work on his boxing skills. In 1980 Tyson was entered into his first amateur boxing match this was set up for Tyson to get experience with competing with older opponents. (Mike Tyson biography, 1996-2013)

By 1985 Tyson made his professional debut in Albany New York against Hector Mercedes he was 18 years old. He knocked Mercedes out in the first round after the fight Tyson earned the name of Iron Mike. From the beginning of Tyson career he showed everyone why he is a force to be reckoned with .Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champ at the age of 20. He held many different titles in his boxing career to name a few WBC) world boxing champion. (Safane, 2010) Mike Tyson boxing career gave him instant wealth. Tyson average winnings per fight was 10.6 million dollars, Tyson received endorsement deals with Pepsi and Nintendo, his career earnings were between 300 and 400 million dollars.
At the present Mike is trying to save what is life of his career. Mike appeared in Hangover 1 and Hangover 2 and he also did a one-man show on Broadway that was directed by Spike Lee. Mike signed a deal to write a memoir of his life, the book will be titled ‘Undisputed Truth” It said to be release this year. (Mike Tyson biography, 1996-2013)
I chose Mike Tyson to conduct a case study because he captivated the nation with his boxing skills and punching power. He was also raised in a rough neighborhood and against all odds he has proven to be a great definition of a success story.

I chose behavioristic as the perspective to write about because it explain as human we either learn from rewards or punishments associated with specific behaviors
Growing up without a father in the household left Mike Tyson feeling incomplete. At the age of 11 the streets became the father figure that Tyson so desperately wanted. He started running with older guys in his neighborhood committing petty crimes; this landed Tyson in jail. By the age of 13 jail had become an involving door for Tyson. If his father was around things probably would have been different, his father could have stopped him from going down the path of destruction. I feel that every child deserves two parents in the household but sad to say you see more mothers left with the burden of playing both roles. We all know that a woman cannot show a boy how to be a man. Lorna tried so hard to keep Tyson out of the streets but she was not successful. Tyson was addicted to fast money and the acceptance he got from his street crew

In the 1980’s Brooklyn was a crime infested neighborhood. It was hard for a child to grow up and want to stay on the right path when all they were faced with was temptation and peer pressure. In today society there are a lot of inner city neighborhoods where they aren’t a lot of positive role model for a child to look up to. In my opinion when there aren’t any positive role models in the home children are easily influence by their peers. There are a lot of single mothers working two and three job trying to make ends meet to provide for their children. Working multiple jobs leaves little time for a mother to spend with her children. I‘m not saying that all children raised in a single parent home would be easily influence by negativity however, there are more than a few that will.

Even though Tyson had a trouble past he was able to learn from his mistakes and turn his life around. Mike Tyson is an example of not becoming a product of your environment. Having D’Amato as a father figure has shape Tyson into the man that he is today.

Erik Erikson developed eight stages of psychosocial development. Each stage describes the level of social development from infancy to adolescent and adulthood. I will explain the stages 1-4 in Mike Tyson life. The first stage is Trust versus mistrust. Tyson saw his mother struggle to make ends meet. Even though she struggled she manages to provide him with food and shelter. It was evident that Tyson trusted his mother. The second stage is Autonomy versus shame and doubt. Tyson’s father left his mother at the age of two. She was left with the burden of taking care of three children. The way Tyson’s mother care for her children one can speculate that Lorna encouraged self-sufficiency without the help of Tyson’s dad. The third stage is Initiative versus guilt. Tyson struggled in school because of his learning disability, However he manage to raise his reading abilities to the seventh-grade level. Continuing with his education he decided to homeschool. The four and finally stage is Industry versus inferiority -) Being bullied in school for his high pitched voice and pronounced lisp caused Tyson to want to defend himself against the bullies. The absence of his father caused Mike to look for acceptance from the older men his neighborhood. At the age of nine he was arrested 38 times. As a result of his constant run in with the law Tyson was sent to a boy’s reform school in upstate New York.

Kohlberg’s stages of moral development gives a scenario of a man stealing medication for his dying wife. You have to decide if the person in the scenario was morally wrong or right. Kohlberg main concern is the reasoning for the answer. Tyson morality as an adolescent and young adult was pre-conventional. Tyson knew that eventually all his criminal activities he was involved with as a child would eventually catch up to him. However that didn’t stop Tyson from committing numerous crimes which landed him back in jail. As an adult Tyson was constantly in court or arrested for his unruly behavior. The back in forth to court became costly and it started to drain Tyson’s pockets. Currently Tyson morality is conventional Tyson has adapted a less destructive lifestyle. He is drug free and has come to an understanding that want he did was wrong. He has socially accepted the wrong that he has done. Tyson’s main focus is to be a better role model to his seven children.

Maslow is a hierarchy that shows five levels of needs that as human motivates our behavior. I will explain how Tyson hierarchy has changed. 1. Physiological needs- As a child his mother struggled to care for her children. There probably was a time where Tyson didn’t eat because of lack of food. 2. Safety needs. In 1992 Tyson boxing license was revoked because he bit a piece of Holyfield ear while competing with him in a boxing match. In addition to his license being revoked Tyson was also spending money furiously, this caused Mike to have to file for bankruptcy. 3. Belonging and love needs- During Tyson’s life he has dated a lot of woman and even married quite a few. There never was a time where Tyson need love from a significant other. When he was single it was short lived. 4. Esteem needs- Tyson has accomplishment so much in his career; Tyson received a lot of titles within his boxing career. Mike gross income for each boxing match he fought was 10.6 million dollars. Tyson even star in the movie the hangover part 1 and 2. Tyson perform a one man show on Broadway that was directed by Spike Lee. Mike is even in the process of writing a book about his life. As you can see Tyson had a very successful career. 5 Self Actualization- Currently Tyson has reached the point where he has changed his lifestyle and realizes his potential. Tyson lives a slow pace life with his wife and his children.

McClelland work identifies the basic needs that humans have in order of their importance. The three motivators are NAH (Need for achievement) NAFF (need for affiliation) NPOW (need for power). As I examine Tyson life I feel that the need for achievement is what motivated him to reach success. Tyson started out as a scare little defensive less boy who was bullied as a child. Boxing started out as a way to defend himself then it developed into a passion. This passion has motivated Tyson to become one of the greatest, earning him the name of Iron Mike.

Conducting this case study of Tyson has helped me to realize that behind every glory there is a story. My mother has motivated me to achieve more out of life; she is and will always be my biggest cheerleader and supporter. When I feel like giving up I look to my mother for her words of encouragement. I also learned from Tyson life story that you don’t have to be a product of your circumstance you can choose to achieve more out of life. This is why I’m in college to earn my degree and become a psychologist. I had a lot of stumbling blocks in my past but I won’ let it stagnate me. I know that I will face a lot of obstacles on my journey to the top. But I won’t stop until I have reached my goal.

In phase 1, I analyzed Tyson’s childhood from the behavioristic perspective. For Phase 3, I will analyze Tyson’s personality trait for the humanistic perspective. Rogers and Maslow believes that an Individuals behavior is connected to their own inner feelings and self-image, and also that we are responsible for our own happiness and well-being. There was a couple of times in Tyson’s life were he has hit rock bottom. First I will explain a situation in Tyson’s life that has tarnished his reputation and could have ended his career. Secondly I will explain how he bounced back after the situation. In 1992, Tyson was sentenced to six years in prison for rape. After serving three years Tyson was released from prison because he displayed good behavior. Tyson had a rocky relationship with the woman he dated in the past. I think this has a lot to do with the lack of positive interaction between male in female in Tyson life. When Tyson was younger he saw his mother being physical abused by her boyfriend. When a child sees this type of behavior it teaches them that it’s okay to hit a person whenever you get upset. What Tyson did was unacceptable however after conducting this research I understand now that this all learnt behavior. Life after the conviction I’m sure was hard for Tyson however, he didn’t let it stop him from achieving more out of life. Being labeled as a sex offender people automatically has negative views about the person. This label I’m sure has had a huge impact on Tyson’s life and career. Tyson spoke out about the situation in an interview this is what he said. “The time I spent in jail took away my humanity and my reputation” (Maloney, 2011). Tyson could have blamed everyone for his short comings but he didn’t .Right after his release he returned back to the ring. He fought Peter McNeeley; Tyson knocked him out in 89 seconds and made 25 million dollars. The stacks were up against Tyson but once again he was able to turn a negative into a positive. Tyson’s once again has showed the world that he is in control of his destiny and his happiness.

In my phase 4 individual project First I will explain what I learned about psychology as a whole giving example such as nature vs nurture. Secondly I will explain how I can apply what I learned about psychology into the workplace. By recognizing the different personality trait of the people to whom I work with. Thirdly I will explain how psychology has helped me to identify my weakness as well as my strength. Lastly I will explain how I will apply the knowledge into my everyday life.


Mike Tyson biography. ((1996-2013).). Retrieved July 11, 2013, from Bio True Story:
Mike Tyson biography. (1996-2013). Retrieved July 11, 2013, from Mike Tyson biography:
Broderick, B. (2010, May 10). Mike Tyson and women the good, the bad and the ugly. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from Mike Tyson and women the good, the bad and the ugly:
Head, J. (2010, November 21). Mike Tysoon his childhood and early boxing years. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from Mike Tysoon his childhood and early boxing year:
Maloney, A. (2011, January). The Sun. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from The sUN:
Safane, J. (2010, Dec 8). Mike Tyson's career ended unceremoniously, but early dominacne has him among top 10 fighjeters of all time. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from Mike Tyson's career ended unceremoniously, but early dominacne has him among top 10 fighjeters of all tim:
Safane, J. (2010, December 8). Mike Tyson's career ended unceremoniously, but early dominance has him amoung top 10 fighters of all time. Retrieved July 21, 2013, from Nesn:

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