Vick was born in Newport News, Virginia as the second of four children to Brenda Vick and Michael Boddie, then unmarried teenagers. His mother worked two jobs, obtained public financial assistance and had help from her parents, while his father worked long hours in the shipyards as a sandblaster and spray-painter. They were married when Michael was about five years old, but the children elected to continue to use their "Vick" surname. The family lived in the Ridley Circle Homes, a public housing project in a financially depressed and crime-ridden neighborhood located in the East End section of the port city. Local residents interviewed in a 2007 newspaper article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch noted that "not much changed" nearly a decade after Vick left. One resident said that there was drug dealing, drive-by shootings, and other killings in the neighborhood, and suggested that sports were a way out and a dream for many. In a 2001 interview, Vick told the Newport News Daily Press that when he was 10 or 11, "I would go fishing even if the fish weren't biting, just to get away from the violence and stress of daily life in the projects. "