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Rodman, Dennis 1961–

Dennis Rodman 1961

Professional basketball player

Renounced by Mother

Rescued by Basketball

Became Rebounder for Hire

Played With the Bulls and Beyond

Selected writings

Sources

Dennis Rodman is one of the greatest rebounders ever to play professional basketball. His rebounding exploits have drawn comparisons with such legends as Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, and Bill Russell, all of whom were taller and heavier. Sports Illustrated once called Rodman a sort of basketball genius. A dedicated analyst of the game and a tenacious defender, Rodman led the National Basketball Association (NBA) in rebounding for four consecutive years and helped lead his teams to five NBA championships. As his career went on, however, Rodman drew ever more attention for his off-court antics. With his rainbow-colored hair and multiple tattoos, his penchant for conducting interviews in gay bars, and tumultuous romances with the singer Madonna and the actress Carmen Electra, Rodman landed headlines far outside the sports pages.

Rodman revels in the outsider image. The hair, the tattoos, the numerous body piercings, and the episodes of cross-dressing are all the product of a man who is as much entertainer as athlete. I tried something bold, Rodman explained in Playboy. I created something that everyone has been afraid of the Dennis Rodman I was born to be. However flamboyant his behavior might be, Rodman offers no apologies. He feels that he is fulfilling his mission in the NBA as wellor betterthan anyone. I dont like people to get inside Dennis Rodman, he admitted in the Atlanta Journal. But once I get on the court, Im just taking the 22,000 fans that are in the stands and putting them inside me. I like to see people excited and happy, and when they leave the arena they say, God, that was a great game.

Renounced by Mother

Dennis Keith Rodman was born on May 13, 1961, in Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Philander and Shirley Rodman. When he was just three years old, his fatheran Air Force enlisteedeserted the family, leaving Dennis and his two younger sisters without a father figure. Despite his success in the NBA, Rodman has not seen his father in 25 years. No one is more surprised by Rodmans success than Rodman himself. Im something I shouldnt have been, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I should be an average Joe Blow, nine to five. Rodman says this because as a child

At a Glance

Born Dennis Keith Rodman on May 13, 1961, in Trenton, NJ; son of Philander and Shirley Rodman; married Annie Bakes (model), 1993 (divorced); married Carmen Electra (actress), 1998 (divorced 1999); children: (with Bakes) Alexis. Education: Attended Cooke County Junior College, 1982-83, and Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 1983-86.

Career: Detroit Pistons, professional basketball player, 1986-93; San Antonio Spurs, professional basketball player, 1993-95; writer, 1994-97; Chicago Bulls, professional basketball player, 1995-98; actor, 1996; Los Angeles Lakers, professional basketball player, 1999; Dallas Mavericks, professional basketball player, 2000.

Awards: NBA All-Defensive first team, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996; NBA defensive player of the year, 1990, 1991; NBA All-Star team, 1990, 1992; IBM Award for all-around contributions to teams success, 1992.

Addresses: Agent Prince Marketing Group, 454 Prospect Ave., Suite £74, West Orange, NJ, 07052.

he was frail and shy, often taking the brunt of beatings by his bigger, more aggressive schoolmates.

Rodman was only five-foot-eleven during high school. He did not even make the varsity basketball team at the Dallas, Texas high school he attended. After graduating from high school he drifted through a series of jobs, including serving as a janitor at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. According to Mark Seal in Playboy, the parttime airport job led Rodman into trouble: On a dare, he stuck his broom handle through a gift shop grate and stole 15 watches. He was arrested, jailed for a night, and released after he told the cops where the watches were. No charges were ever filed in the incident, but it added to the growing strain between Rodman and his mother.

Shortly after the incident with the watches, Rodmans mother issued him an ultimatum: he was to go to college, enlist in the armed services, or get another job. Rodman ignored her. Exasperated, she packed his bags and kicked him out. Their relationship has been cordial but distant ever since. Ill just say this, Rodman told the Post-Dispatch. It left a hole in my life I cant fill up.

Rescued by Basketball

Rescue came in the form of a phenomenal growth spurt. Rodman grew almost a foot in a single year, topping out at six-foot-eight. After a year at Cooke County Junior College in Dallas, he won a basketball scholarship to Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He arrived there, shy and uncertain about his skills, in 1983.

At a basketball camp that Rodman helped to coach, he met a young boy named Bryne Rich. Bryne was suffering deeply from the consequences of an accident that had occurred while he was huntinghis gun had discharged while he was reloading, killing his best friend. Rodman helped Bryne talk through his pain, and in return Bryne introduced Rodman to the Rich family, who practically adopted the soft-spoken college player. Rodman moved in with the Rich family, who offered emotional support and encouragement as his basketball career caught fire.

As a college junior and senior Rodman led the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in rebounding, with 16.1 per game in 1985 and 17.8 in 1986. He was named an All-American as a senior and was chosen in the second round of the 1986 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. Rodman joined the Pistons for the 1986-87 season as a forward, finding a congenial atmosphere with coach Chuck Daly and a no-holds-barred group of fellow players who would come to be known as the Bad Boys. A brief marriage during the period to model Annie Bakes ended in divorce after only 82 days, but it produced Rodmans only child to date, a daughter named Alexis. Bakess only lasting influence on Rodmans life was her penchant for getting tattoosRodman has since covered much of his body with them.

Professionally, Rodman became a force to be reckoned with. The Pistons won back-to-back national championships in 1989 and 1990, taking their Bad Boy image to a worldwide audience. Rodman established himself as a solid rebounder and important defensive cog in the Pistons lineup, earning NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors in both 1990 and 1991. He had a good relationship with his teammates and coach Daly, and by all reports he was infuriated when some of his friends got traded and Daly left the team. Dennis kind of grew up with us, Daly explained in USA Today. The Pistons were Denniss first professional family, and he really liked what the team stood for. It was a family to him, and when it disintegrated around him, it was tough for him to deal with.

It was during this time that Rodman developed his philosophy on the NBAthat professional basketball exploits its players, forcing them to play more for money than for a sense of team, and expecting them to adhere to a squeaky-clean image at odds with the demands of the game. Asked why he had become so uncommunicative with his coaches and fellow players in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rodman had a simple answer: This business is rotten.

Became Rebounder for Hire

In 1993 Rodman signed a three-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs, bringing him home to Texas. There he helped the Spurs to advance to the playoffs by leading the league in rebounding in 1993, 1994, and 1995 (he had been top rebounder with the Pistons in 1992 as well). It was also in San Antonio that Rodman began coloring his hair the many shades that have made him a star beyond the bounds of basketball. Rodman put himself in the hands of hairdresser David Chapa, who created the classic Rodman look by first applying peroxide until the players hair turned white, then coloring it with bright hair color in shades of Rodmans choosing. On occasion Rodman and Chapa collaborated on designs that are colored onto the crown of Rodmans head. The painful process took up to three hours and carried the threat of future baldness. Rodman suggested that if his hair falls out, he would just tattoo his head.

With the Spurs, Rodman established himself as a rebounding specialist on a par with the likes of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlainboth of whom were centers, far taller and heavier than Rodman. In fact, at six-foot-eight and 215 pounds, Rodman is definitely short and slight for his specialty. Im surprised that I can even get to the ball compared to most guys who are 6-10 and 7 feet tall, he told the Chicago Tribune. Especially when Ive got guys grabbing me and holding me and doing all kinds of things to keep me away from the ball. They dont even know me well enough to be doing some of the things they do. Rodman compensated for his relative lack of stature by analyzing the behavior of the basketball as it arches toward the hoop and then caroms off in various directions. He can often anticipate how a ball will behave when it fails to fall through the basketand he responds accordingly. People think I just go get the damn ball, because they dont take the time to really look at what I do, he said in Sports Illustrated. Rebounding isnt brain surgery, but theres more to it than being able to jump higher than the next guy. A lot of work is done before you ever even jump.

It was during his tenure with the Spurs that Rodman met singer-actress Madonna on a photo shoot. They began a highly-publicized courtship that added spice to the tabloids for months. While Rodman refused to comment on the relationship, his Spurs teammate Jack Haleyone of his few close friendssaid that Madonna was very serious about Rodman. I went out with Dennis and Madonna several times, Haley told the Detroit News. Its not rumor. Its true. I was there. She was dead serious. She wanted Dennis Rodman to marry her. She asked Dennis several times to marry her. I was there, I heard it with my own ears. She wanted to have a baby. Haley added that Rodman was more cautious and unwilling to enter into a serious commitment after such a short courtship. After several months, the pair split up.

Played With the Bulls and Beyond

When the Spurs failed to make the championship finals in the 1994-95 season, Rodmans image as a nonconformist became an issue. During contract renegotiations, Rodman was traded to the Chicago Bullsa move that he welcomed, since the Bulls were the dominant team of the 1990s. With the Bulls, Rodman continued his outrageous behavior. He appeared at Bulls games with green hair, red hair surrounding a black Bulls emblem, and canary yellow hair. In his first season with the Bulls he drew a two-week suspension after head-butting a referee and was suspended for 11 games after kicking a courtside TV photographer. And yet somehow, he helped the team win. My sole aim, Rodman told the Associate Press, will be to help bring the NBA championship back home to Chicago. He continued improving as a rebounder, learning the shooting styles of Bulls stars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen so he could better react to their missed shots. Though his teammates sometimes disliked his attention-grabbing behavior, Rodman helped the team win. In fact, the Bulls won the NBA title three years in a row, in 1996, 1997, and 1998.

Playing with the championship Bulls put Rodman in the spotlight, and he adored the attention. In 1996 he published his autobiography, Bad As I Wanna Be, which spent 20 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. New Yorker reviewer David Remnick remarked that, in Bad As I Wanna Be, Rodman gets in our collective face with an absolute, and desperate, authenticity. There is no whimsy. Here we are on the edge of a new sports form: autopathography. As if the bookin which Rodman revealed his secret longing to be a womanwasnt revealing enough, Rodman showed up at book signings riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle and wearing womens clothes. Rodmans personal behavior drew national headlines, whether he was being arrested for public drunkenness, briefly marrying former Baywatch star Carmen Electra, starring in action films like 1997s Double Team, hosting an MTV program Dennis Rodmans World Tour 96, or appearing in World Championship Wrestling matches. No act was too outrageous for Rodman, no stage too big.

Following the 1998 season the Bulls set out to rebuild, and Rodman was released. Though most NBA players were ready to retire by their late 30s, Rodman remained willing to offer a team his prodigious rebounding skills if only they would tolerate his increasingly outrageous behavior. For a brief period, the Los Angeles Lakers were willing to give Rodman a try. He joined the team for 23 games in 1999, at one point spurring them to 11 straight wins. Team officials soon grew disgusted with Rodmans antics, however, which included missing practices and refusing to follow directions from coaches. Rodman was fired, and didnt play again until the next season, when he signed with the Dallas Mavericks. Rodman played just 12 games for the Mavs in 2000 before being dumped from the team. As of 2004, Rodmans attempts to revive his NBA career have consisted primarily of rumors.

Rodman once told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Im a free, wild, exotic animal loving life, such as it is in the confines of the rules and laws of the universe. But Rodman has continually bumped up against the rules and laws of the universe. Since buying a home and opening a restaurant/bar in Newport Beach, California, in 1998, police have visited his home 50 times responding to complaints about excessive partying and public drunkenness. Rodman was jailed for public drunkenness in September of 2003, and a rumored NBA comeback was derailed in the fall of 2003 when he crashed a motorcycle while allegedly driving drunk. Friends worried that Rodman was out of control: Hes way out of control, friend and former pro football player Floyd Raglin told Sports Illustrated. Everybody likes to have fun, but I dont want to see him get seriously hurt or kill himselfbecause thats where hes headed. Reports in early 2004 indicated that Rodman had addressed his problems with alcohol abuse, but it remains to be seen whether the aging wildman can revive his career once more.

Selected writings

(With Pat Rich and Alan Steinberg) Rebound: The Dennis Rodman Story, Crown, 1994.

(With Tim Keown) Bad As I Wanna Be, Delacorte, 1996.

(With Michael Silver) Walk on the Wild Side, Delacorte, 1997.

Words from the Worm: An Unauthorized Trip through the Mind of Dennis Rodman, David Whitaker, compiler, Bonus Books, 1997.

Sources

Books

Bickley, Dan, No Bull: The Unauthorized Biography of Dennis Rodman, St. Martins Press, 1997.

Rodman, Dennis, with Pat Rich and Alan Steinberg, Rebound: The Dennis Rodman Story, Crown, 1994.

Periodicals

Associated Press, March 19, 1996.

Atlanta Journal and Constitution, February 22, 1996, p. Sports 1.

Chicago Sun-Times, October 4, 1995, p. 122.

Chicago Tribune, February 29, 1996, p. 1.

Detroit News, May 18, 1995, p. D1.

New Yorker, June 10, 1996, pp. 84-88.

People Weekly, September 11, 2000, p. 20.

Philadelphia Daily News, January 11, 1996, p. S6.

Playboy, January 1996, p. 98.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 12, 1995, p. F3.

Sports Illustrated, March 4, 1996, p. 30; March 8, 1999, p. 38; Nov. 3, 2003, p. 23.

Texas Monthly, September 1998, pp. 106-111.

USA Today, May 26, 1995, p. A1.

On-line

Dennis Rodman: The Official Web Site, www.drodman.com (April 12, 2004).

Mark Kram and Tom Pendergast

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Rodman, Dennis

Dennis Rodman

1961-

American basketball player

Bad Boy of Basketball Dennis Rodman is perhaps more famous for his exploits off the court (as well as a few key incidents while on the court) than he is for his superlative play. Rodman's physical appearance is as hard to miss as the rumors and gossip that surround him. Known for his multi-hued, everchanging hair color and a penchant for adding a new tattoo at a moment's notice, as well as any number of piercings, Dennis Rodman (known also as "The Worm") is in fact one of the greatest rebounders to ever set foot on the hardwood. A student of the game who led the National Basketball Association (NBA) in rebounding for four straight years, Rodman was a key factor in bringing home championships for the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls.

Growing Up

Dennis Rodman was born in Trenton, New Jersey, on May 13, 1961. His father, Philander, would end up deserting the family when Rodman was only three, leaving his mother Shirley to try to raise her son and his two younger sisters without a father figure. As a kid, Rodman played sports, but given his small size, there was nothing fantastic about his athletic childhood. As Rodman often says, he was just regular.

When Rodman graduated from high school, he was only five foot eleven, and had failed, throughout four years, to make the varsity basketball squad. He couldn't find a place to fit in, and bounced from job to job. At one point he worked as a janitor for the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, and on a dare from a friend, stuck the

handle from his mop through a gift shop grate and stole fifteen watches. According to Mark Seal in Playboy, "he was arrested, jailed for a night and released after he told the cops where the watches were." The incident passed, but it contributed to the problems Rodman was having with his slacker lifestyle. The arrest infuriated his mother, who was tired of her son's inability to grow up. She threatened Rodman with an ultimatum. He had a choice: he could go to college, find another job, or, following in the footsteps of his father, enter the military. Rodman didn't choose. Getting no response, his mother packed his bags and kicked him out of the house.

Better Late Than Never

About this time, Rodman was truly "blooming late." He is said to have grown over a foot in one year, hitting an incredible growth spurt that ended up propelling his final height in the stats sheets to six foot eight (Rodman later admitted that he's really only six foot six). With his new outlook on life, Rodman entered Cooke County Junior College in Dallas, where he played basketball for a year, just long enough for him to be recognized by the coach at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he entered on a basketball scholarship in 1983. While at Oklahoma, he led the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in rebounding, averaging over sixteen boards per game in 1985 and almost eighteen per contest in 1986.

The Professional Dennis

The Detroit Pistons picked up Rodman in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft. Coach Chuck Daly already had a team with aggressive players, and Rodman, whether they knew it or not, fit right in. In no time at all the Pistons took control of the league, winning back-to-back national championships in 1989 and 1990. Rodman garnered Defensive Player of the Year honors in 1990 and 1991, and it seemed that he'd found his groove.

Then the team began to disband, and when some of Rodman's teammates were traded, he became skeptical of the whole business aspect of basketball. He was vocal about the way the NBA handled its players, telling the St. Louis Post Dispatch that "this business is rotten." He would shortly leave the Pistons and head back to his home state to play for the San Antonio Spurs, where he helped yet another team make it to the playoffs, again leading the league in rebounding (1993-95).

On the heels of his disenchantment with the National Basketball Association, Rodman seems to have been unable to deal with the pressures and reality of the game. Regardless of whether or not he believed that once he got to the pros it would be all roses, he began cultivating the image of troublemaker once he had announced his frustration with the system. While dyeing his hair, getting tattoos and piercings were not a reason to label Rodman a problem, he voiced his problems with the league in front of the media, and he began to act out, getting into altercations with referees (at one point headbutting a referee and getting suspended from the league for eleven games), and interrupting the play of his teammates with unnecessary technical fouls.

In 1995, Rodman was traded to the Chicago Bulls for Will Perdue, and for three seasons he continued his superlative play in the Windy City as a rebounder for Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen . Here he would earn another championship ring (1997). But his off-the-court persona was growing rapidly at this time. Rodman, always in a high-profile relationship, had been dating Madonna, but broke it off when she allegedly wanted him to marry her and he refused. He picked up with Baywatch 's Carmen Electra (Rodman had a guest appearance on the program), whom he married in 1998 (they would divorce shortly thereafter).

Basketball Takes a Backseat

His desire to move his star above and beyond the basketball court pushed Rodman into the world of professional wrestling in 1997, when he joined the WCW (World Championship Wrestling). That same year he took his first major film role in a movie titled Double Team (he'd had a bit part in Eddie with Whoopi Goldberg in 1996). Though it was a less than steller debut, Rodman wasn't deterred. He followed with roles in Simon Sez in 1999 and Cutaway in 2000. Along with the big screen, he joined the cast of a small television series, Soldier of Fortune in 1997, and signed a deal with MTV for twenty episodes of a show that followed him around.

Chronology

1961 Dennis Keith Rodman born May 13 in Trenton, New Jersey, to Philander and Shirley Rodman
1982 Plays basketball for a year at Cooke County Junior College in Dallas
1983 Wins basketball scholarship to Southeastern Oklahoma State University
1986 Drafted in the second round of NBA draft by Detroit Pistons
1989 Has daughter, Alexis, with Annie Banks
1992 Misses opening of Pistons' training camp, saying his pending divorce and departure of coach Daly sapped his desire to play. Misses all of camp
1993 Marries Annie Banks. They'll divorce within three months
1993 Signs a 3-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs
1995 Traded to Chicago Bulls for Will Perdue
1996 Wins third NBA championship and first as a member of the Bulls; shares Finals record of 11 offensive rebounds in a game, doing so twice in Finals
1996 Signs a 20-show deal with MTV to star in series The Rodman World Tour
1996 Bad As I Wanna Be becomes a best-seller
1997 Heads Mr. Blackwell's 37th Annual Worst-Dressed Men List, a roll-call of fashion misfits
1997 Grabs 10,000th rebound of his career on January 14
1997 Suspended by NBA and fined $25,000 for kicking a courtside television photographer
1997 Takes role of "Deacon 'Deke' Reynolds" in TV show Soldier of Fortune
1998 Picked up by Los Angeles Lakers but only plays 23 games for the team
1999 After showing up late to a morning Los Angeles Lakers practice, Rodman sent home and let go from the team that night
2000 Cut from Dallas Mavericks before season ends. Retires from basketball
2000 Plays "Randy 'Turbo' Kingston" in feature film Cutaway with Tom Berenger and Stephen Baldwin
2002 Makes uncredited appearance in movie Undercover Brother

Awards and Accomplishments

1985-86 NAIA rebound leader
1986 All-American
1989-91 NBA Defensive Player of the Year
1989-93, 1996 NBA All-Defensive Team
1990, 1992 NBA All-Star Team
1991-94, 1997-98 Led the league in defensive rebounds
1992-98 Had 7 consecutive seasons where he led the league in total rebounds and rebounds per game

All of these extra-curricular activities were obviously taking their toll on Rodman's presence on-court. Add to the mix a bestseller (Bad As I Wanna Be ) in 1996, and yet another book (Walk on the Wild Side ) in 1997, and not many would argue that Rodman was wearing himself thin.

In 1998, Rodman was picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers, who saw a need for his rebounding talents. But his personality didn't fit in with the team (in fact, his personality by this point didn't fit in with many NBA organizations), and after only twenty-three games, he was cut when the head office ran out of patience. In 2000 he joined the Dallas Mavericks, finally returning full-circle to the town where he grew up, but the team released him after only twenty-nine days. Rodman ended up retiring from basketball.

Greatness Can't Be Denied

Dennis Rodman loves his outsider image. He believes that as much as he is an athlete, he is first and foremost an entertainer. "I tried something bold," he told Playboy magazine, referring to his lifestyle. "I created something that everyone has been afraid of the Dennis Rodman I was born to be."

Regardless of what basketball fans or critics think of Rodman's behavior, whether they find it reprehensible or, as Rodman hopes, entertaining, the numbers he amassed as a rebounder during his fourteen seasons in the NBA speak for themselves. He's been compared in his rebounding skills with such greats as Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, and Bill Russell, all of whom had a height and weight advantage over the shorter, slimmer Rodman.

"I'm something I shouldn't have been," Rodman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I should have been an average Joe Blow, nine to five."

SELECTED WRITINGS BY RODMAN:

(With Pat Rich and Alan Steinberg) Rebound: The Dennis Rodman Story, Crown, 1995.

(With Tim Keown) Bad as I Wanna Be, Dell Books, 1997.

(With Michael Silver) Walk on the Wild Side, Delacorte Press, 1997.

(With David Whitaker) Words from the Worm: An Unauthorized Trip Through the Mind of Dennis Rodman, Bonus Books, 1997.

Career Statistics

Rebounds
Yr Team GP PTS FG% 3P% FT% OFF DEF APG SPG BPG
CHI: Chicago Bulls; DAL: Dallas Mavericks: DET: Detroit Pistons; LAL: Los Angeles Lakers; SAN: San Antonio Spurs.
1986-87 DET 77 500 .545 .000 .587 163 169 0.7 0.49 0.62
1987-88 DET 82 953 .561 .294 .535 318 397 1.3 0.91 0.55
1988-89 DET 82 735 .595 .231 .626 327 445 1.2 0.67 0.93
1989-90 DET 82 719 .581 .111 .654 336 456 0.9 0.63 0.73
1990-91 DET 82 669 .493 .200 .631 361 665 1.0 0.79 0.67
1991-92 DET 82 800 .539 .317 .600 523 1007 2.3 0.83 0.85
1992-93 DET 62 468 .427 .205 .534 367 765 1.6 0.77 0.73
1993-94 SAN 79 370 .534 .208 .520 453 914 2.3 0.66 0.41
1994-95 SAN 49 349 .571 .000 .676 274 549 2.0 0.63 0.47
1995-96 CHI 64 351 .480 .111 .528 356 596 2.5 0.56 0.42
1996-97 CHI 55 311 .448 .263 .568 320 563 3.1 0.58 0.35
1997-98 CHI 80 375 .431 .174 .550 421 780 2.9 0.59 0.23
1998-99 LAL 23 49 .348 .000 .436 62 196 1.3 0.43 0.52
1999-00 DAL 12 34 .387 .000 .714 48 123 1.2 0.17 0.08
TOTAL 911 6683 .521 .231 .589 4329 7625 1.8 0.67 0.58

(Author of forword) The Exotic Erotic Ball: Twenty Years of the World's Biggest Sexiest Party, SPI Books, 2002.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Books

Bickley, Dan. No Bull: The Unauthorized Biography of Dennis Rodman. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1997.

"Dennis Rodman." Contemporary Black Biography. Volume 12. Detroit: Gale Group, 1996.

"Dennis Rodman." Newsmakers 1996. Issue 4. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996.

"Dennis Rodman." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000.

Hanson, David, and Christopher Erckmann (illustrator). Dumb as I Wanna Be: 101 Reasons to Hate Dennis Rodman. New York: Avon Books, 1998.

Mann, Perry (with introduction by Dennis Rodman). The Exotic Erotic Ball: Twenty Years of the World's Biggest Sexiest Party. SPI Books, 2002.

Rodman, B. Anicka. Worse Than He Says He Is: White Girls Don't Bounce. New York: Dove Books, 1997.

Rodman, Dennis, and Tim Keown. Bad As I Wanna Be. New York: Dell Books, 1997.

Rodman, Dennis, and Michael Silver. Walk on the Wild Side. New York: Delacorte Press, 1997.

Rodman, Dennis, and David Whitaker. Words from the Worm: An Unauthorized Trip Through the Mind of Dennis Rodman. Bonus Books, 1997.

Steinberg, Alan. Rebound: The Dennis Rodman Story. New York: Crown Publishers, 1995.

Periodicals

Associated Press (March 19, 1996).

Atlanta Journal and Constitution (February 22, 1996).

Chicago Sun Times (October 4, 1995).

Chicago Tribune (February 29, 1996): 1.

Detroit News (May 18, 1995): D1.

New Yorker (June 10, 1996): 84-88.

People (May 15, 1995): 137-138.

Philadelphia Daily News (January 11, 1996): S6.

Playboy (January 1996): 98.

Publishers Weekly (December 20, 1993): 57.

Reilly, Rick. "A nose ring runs through it." Sports Illustrated 86 (May 12, 19978): 116.

Sports Illustrated (March 4, 1996): 30.

USA Today (May 26, 1995): A1.

Wolff, Alexander. "Mr. Manners." Sports Illustrated 88 (May 25, 1998): 64-67.

Other

"Dennis Rodman." NBA.com http://www.nba.com/playerfile/dennis_rodman.html (January 2, 2003).

"The Official Dennis Rodman Homepage." http://lonestar.texas.net/~pmagal/rodman.html (January 2, 2003).

Sketch by Eric Lagergren

Where Is He Now?

After retiring from basketball in 2000, Rodman continued with his pursuit of acting, working on the occasional television series, as well as having some small parts in feature films (most recently in the film Undercover Brother in an uncredited part). He also remains a fixture on the party scene and recently wrote the foreword for the coffee table book The Exotic Erotic Ball: Twenty Years of the World's Biggest Sexiest Party. The book celebrates "freedom of expression," something Rodman, who is known to appear at events in drag, promotes wholeheartedly.

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Rodman, Dennis 1961—

Dennis Rodman 1961

Professional basketball player

Not a Conventional Athlete

Bad Boy with the Pistons

About That Hair...

Joining the Bulls

Sources

Dennis Rodman is one of the greatest rebounders ever to play professional basketball. Superbly conditioned and a dedicated analyst of the game, Rodman has led the National Basketball Association (NBA) in rebounding for four consecutive years. His rebounding exploits have drawn comparisons with such legends as Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, and Bill Russell, all of whom were taller and heavier. In recent years the eccentric Rodman has achieved fame as much for his off-court antics as for his playing skills. His rainbow-colored hair and multiple tattoos, penchant for conducting interviews in gay bars, and brief romantic interlude with the singer Madonna landed him in headlines far outside the sports pages.

Rodman revels in the outsider image. The hair, the tattoos, the numerous body piercings, and the episodes of cross-dressing are all the product of a man who is as much entertainer as athlete. I tried something bold, Rodman explained in Playboy. I created something that everyone has been afraid of... the Dennis Rodman I was born to be. However flamboyant his behavior might be, the Chicago Bulls forward offers no apologies. He feels that he is fulfilling his mission in the NBA as well or better-than anyone. I dont like people to get inside Dennis Rodman, he admitted in the Atlanta Journal. But once I get on the court, Im just taking the 22,000 fans that are in the stands and putting them inside me. I like to see people excited and happy, and when they leave the arena they say, God, that was a great game

Not a Conventional Athlete

No one is more surprised by Rodmans success than Rodman himself. Im something I shouldnt have been, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I should be an average Joe Blow, nine to five. Rodman says this because as a child he was frail and shy, often taking the brunt of beatings by his bigger, more aggressive schoolmates. He was born in New Jersey in 1961, the son of Philander and Shirley Rodman. When he was just three years old, his father-an Air Force enlistee-deserted the family, leaving Dennis and his two younger sisters without a father figure. Despite his success in the NBA, Rodman has not seen his father in 25 years.

Rodman was only five-foot-eleven during high school.

At a Glance

Full name, Dennis Keith Rodman; Bom May 13, 1961, in Trenton, NJ; son of Philander and Shirley Rodman; married Annie Bakes (a model), 1993 (divorced); children: Alexis. Education; Attended Cooke County Junior College, 1982-83, and Southeastern Oklahoma State University, 1983-86.

Professional basketball player, 1986. Selected by Detroit Pistons in second round (27th pick overall) of 1986 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft; member of Pistons, 198693; traded to San Antonio Spurs, 1993; member of Spurs, 199395; traded to Chicago Bulls, 1995; member of Bulls, 1995.

Selected awards: Named NBA defensive player of the year, 1990 and 1991; made NBA All-Star team, 1990 and 1992; IBM Award for all-around contributions to teams success, 1992; named to NBA All-Defensive first team, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995.

Addresses: OfficeChicago Bulls, 1901 W. Madison St, Chicago, IL 606122459.

He did not even make the varsity basketball team at the Dallas, Texas high school he attended. After graduating from high school he drifted through a series of jobs, including serving as a janitor at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. According to Mark Seal in Playboy, the part-time airport job led Rodman into trouble: On a dare, he stuck his broom handle through a gift shop grate and stole 15 watches. He was arrested, jailed for a night and released after he told the cops where the watches were. No charges were ever filed in the incident, but it added to the growing strain between Rodman and his mother.

Shortly after the incident with the watches, Rodmans mother issued him an ultimatum-, he was to go to college, enlist in the armed services, or get another job. Rodman ignored her. Exasperated, she packed his bags and kicked him out. Their relationship has been cordial but distant ever since. Ill just say this, Rodman told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. It left a hole in my life I cant fill up.

Rescue came in the form of a phenomenal growth spurt. Rodman grew almost a foot in a single year, topping out at six-foot-eight. After a year at Cooke County Junior College in Dallas, he won a basketball scholarship to Southeastern Oklahoma State University. He arrived there, shy and uncertain about his skills, in 1983.

At a basketball camp that Rodman helped to coach, he met a young boy named Bryne Rich. Bryne was suffering deeply from the consequences of an accident that had occurred while he was hunting-his gun had discharged while he was reloading, killing his best friend. Rodman helped Bryne talk through his pain, and in return Bryne introduced Rodman to the Rich family, who practically adopted the soft-spoken college player. Rodman moved in with the Rich family, who offered emotional support and encouragement as his basketball career caught fire.

Bad Boy with the Pistons

As a college junior and senior Rodman led the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in rebounding, with 16.1 per game in 1985 and 17.8 in 1986. He was named an All-American as a senior and was chosen in the second round of the 1986 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. Rodman joined the Pistons for the 1986-87 season as a forward, finding a congenial atmosphere with coach Chuck Daly and a no-holds-barred group of fellow players who would come to be known as the Bad Boys. A brief marriage during the period to model Annie Bakes ended in divorce after only 82 days, but it produced Rodmans only child to date, a daughter named Alexis. Bakess only lasting influence on Rodmans life was her influence toward getting tattoos-Rodman has since covered much of his body with them.

Professionally, Rodman became a force to be reckoned with. The Pistons won back-to-back national championships in 1989 and 1990, taking their Bad Boy image to a worldwide audience. Rodman established himself as a solid rebounder and important defensive cog in the Pistons lineup, earning NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors in both 1990 and 1991. He had a good relationship with his teammates and coach Daly, and by all reports he was infuriated when some of his friends got traded and Daly left the team. Dennis kind of grew up with us, Daly explained in USA Today. The Pistons were Denniss first professional family, and he really liked what the team stood for.... It was a family to him, and when it disintegrated around him, it was tough for him to deal with.

It was during this time that Rodman developed his philosophy on the NBA-that professional basketball exploits its players, forcing them to play more for money than for a sense of team, and expecting them to adhere to a squeaky-clean image at odds with the demands of the game. Asked why he had become so uncommunicative with his coaches and fellow players in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Rodman had a simple answer: This business is rotten.

About That Hair...

In 1993 Rodman signed a three-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs, bringing him home to Texas. There he helped the Spurs to advance to the playoffs by leading the league in rebounding in 1993, 1994, and 1995 (he had been top rebounder with the Pistons in 1992 as well). It was also in San Antonio that Rodman began coloring his hair the many shades that have made him a star beyond the bounds of basketball. Rodman put himself in the hands of hairdresser David Chapa, who created the classic Rodman look by first applying peroxide until the players hair turned white, then coloring it with bright hair color in shades of Rodmans choosing. On occasion Rodman and Chapa have even collaborated on designs that are colored onto the crown of Rodmans head. The process takes up to three hours and can be painful. It also carries the threat of future baldness. Rodman has suggested that if his hair falls out, he will just tattoo his head.

With the Spurs Rodman established himself as a rebounding specialist on a par with the likes of Russell and Chamberlain-both of whom were centers, far taller and heavier than Rodman. In fact, at six-foot-eight and 215 pounds, Rodman is definitely short and slight for his specialty. Im surprised that I can even get to the ball compared to most guys who are 6-10 and 7 feet tall, he told the Chicago Tribune. Especially when Ive got guys grabbing me and holding me and doing all kinds of things to keep me away from the ball. They dont even know me well enough to be doing some of the things they do. Rodman has compensated for his relative lack of stature by analyzing the behavior of the basketball as it arches toward the hoop and then caroms off in various directions. He can often anticipate how a ball will behave when it fails to fall through the basket-and he responds accordingly. People think I just go get the damn ball, because they dont take the time to really look at what I do, he said in Sports Illustrated. Rebounding isnt brain surgery, but theres more to it than being able to jump higher than the next guy. A lot of work is done before you ever even jump.

It was during his tenure with the Spurs that Rodman met singer-actress Madonna on a photo shoot. They began a highly-publicized courtship that added spice to the tabloids for months. While Rodman has refused to comment on the relationship, his Spurs teammate Jack Haley-one of his few close friends-has said that Madonna was very serious about Rodman. I went out with Dennis and Madonna several times, Haley told the Detroit News. Its not rumor. Its true. I was there. She was dead serious. She wanted Dennis Rodman to marry her. She asked Dennis several times to marry her. I was there, I heard it with my own ears. She wanted to have a baby. Haley added that Rodman was more cautious and unwilling to enter into a serious commitment after such a short courtship. After several months, the pair split up.

Joining the Bulls

When the Spurs failed to make the championship finals in the 1994-95 season, Rodmans image as a nonconformist became an issue. During contract renegotiations, Rodman was traded to the Chicago Bulls-a move that he welcomed, since the Bulls are a perennially talented team. My sole aim ... will be to help bring the NBA championship back home to Chicago, he told the Associated Press. Rodman appeared at Bulls games with green hair, red hair surrounding a black Bulls emblem, and canary yellow hair. He continued improving as a rebounder, learning the shooting styles of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen so he could better react to their missed shots-and he enhanced his image as an eccentric wild man by drawing a two-week suspension after an altercation with a referee. The suspension may destroy his chances of taking a fifth consecutive rebounding crown.

Rodman admits that he is high-strung and that he does not care to build personal relationships with his coaches or teammates. He is also well aware of the entertainment value offered by his outlandish persona. Show business is what I do on the court, he told Playboy. So thatll be my next career. Rodman added that he relishes the idea of playing a villain in an action-adventure movie. In the meantime, he continues to bring a certain exotic flair to the NBA, defying the squeaky-clean image-makers with every tattoo and hair dye he can muster. I feel great, he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. I cant love life any more. Im a free, wild, exotic animal loving life, such as it is in the confines of the rules and laws of the universe.

Sources

Books

Steinberg, Alan, Rebound: The Dennis Rodman Story, Crown Publishers, 1995.

The Sporting News Official NBA Register: The NBA from A to Z, 1995-96 edition, The Sporting News, 1995, p. 188.

Periodicals

Associated Press, March 19,1996.

Atlanta Journal and Constitution, February 22,1996, p. sports 1.

Chicago Sun-Times, October 4, 1995, p. 122.

Chicago Tribune, February 29, 1996, p. 1.

Detroit News, May 18, 1995, p. D1.

Philadelphia Daily News, January 11, 1996, p. S6.

Playboy, January 1996, p. 98.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, March 12,1995, p. F3.

Sports Illustrated, March 4, 1996, p. 30.

USA Today, May 26, 1995, p. Al.

Mark Kram

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