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Dennis Rodman

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Dennis Keith Rodman (born May 13, 1961) is an American professional basketball player best known for his fierce defensive and rebounding ability, leading the National Basketball Association in rebounds per game for a record seven consecutive years and earning NBA All-Defensive First Team honors seven times, along with five NBA Championships (1989, 1990, 1996, 1997, 1998). He is the all-time leader in rebound rate and is generally regarded as one of the greatest rebounders of all-time, particularly on the offensive end of the court. He is also well-known for his controversial antics on and off the court. He has been featured in several media and television roles.

When Rodman entered the NBA Draft in 1986, he was officially listed at 6'8" while playing one of the most physical positions in basketball at power forward. Despite often being matched at a height disadvantage, he became one of the most dominant rebounders in NBA history, and was also a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

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Pre-NBA and amateur career

Rodman, who was born in Trenton, New Jersey and grew up in Dallas, Texas, was on the basketball team only briefly at South Oak Cliff High School, where he played under future Texas A&M coach Gary Blair.[1] Having been dropped from the football team the previous autumn, the then-5'6" player quit the basketball team halfway through his first season due to frustration at not being put into the game; Rodman graduated in 1979 without playing further in either sport. While working as an overnight janitor at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, he grew from under 6 feet tall to 6'6" and became a force to reckon with on the playgrounds. A family friend tipped off the head coach of Cooke County College in Gainesville, Texas about his talents and he went on to play a year for the school's team.[2] After his short stint (failed out) at Cooke County College in Gainesville, Texas, he played for Southeastern Oklahoma State University, an NAIA school. There, Rodman was a three-time NAIA All-American and led the NAIA in rebounding in both the 1984-85 and 1985-86 seasons. He also averaged over 25 points per game for his three-year NAIA career.[3]

Detroit Pistons

After a strong NBA pre-draft workout, the Detroit Pistons took sufficient notice of him to select him in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft. At that time, the Pistons were an up-and-coming team led by Isiah Thomas at point guard, Joe Dumars at shooting guard, Adrian Dantley at small forward, and Bill Laimbeer at center. They had notable role players in Vinnie Johnson, John Salley, and Rick Mahorn. Rodman's intensity was a perfect fit for a team known for its rough style of play and tenacious defense. The Pistons were knocked out of the playoffs in the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals by their nemesis Boston Celtics, although Rodman did a decent job of guarding their star player, Larry Bird. Rodman made headlines after the series by insinuating that Bird was overrated because he was white, a comment that Isiah Thomas (a then-much better known player) echoed.

In 1988, Rodman seemed to show even more star potential, crashing the boards more and defending better than before. In 1989, he was finally recognized for his work by being named Defensive Player of the Year, the first of his two consecutive DPOY awards. He finished second to Laimbeer in rebounding on the team, and Rodman helped the Pistons put away the young Chicago Bulls for the second straight year as they won their first NBA championship. The following year was almost identical, with the Pistons beating the Bulls in the Eastern Conference finals again, winning their second straight championship, and Rodman again winning Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Rodman led the Pistons with 12.5 rebounds per game in 1991. In 1992, Rodman improved significantly, averaging over eighteen per game as he won the first of seven straight rebounding titles. In a March 1992 game, he totaled a career high 34 total rebounds.[4] Rodman's second best rebounding performance was in 1993, in his last season with the Pistons.

San Antonio Spurs

In San Antonio, Rodman continued his rebounding expertise and allowed center David Robinson to focus more on scoring; Robinson won the scoring title. It marked the first time that teammates won both the scoring and rebounding title, but it would not be the last for Rodman. The following season, Rodman helped San Antonio to their then-franchise best win-loss record of 62-20, and they made it to the Western Conference finals. However, his increasingly erratic off-court life, including a brief but heavily-publicized relationship with singer Madonna, and on-court antics, such as dyeing his hair and starting on-court arguments resulted in him being released from his contract after only two years with the Spurs.

Chicago Bulls

Prior the 1995-96 season, Rodman was traded to the Chicago Bulls for center Will Perdue and cash considerations, in order to fill a large void at power forward left by Horace Grant, who left the Bulls prior to the 1994-95 season. In his book Bad As I Wanna Be, Rodman stated that Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen had to approve the trade before it took place. Rodman chose the number 91 (9+1=10 according to Rodman for why he chose that number) for his jersey since the number 10 jersey was retired by the Bulls after the 1994-95 season in honor of Bob Love. The Bulls, with Rodman and Michael Jordan's return from retirement, improved 25 games from the previous year's 47-35 record to an NBA record 72-10 regular season finish in the 1995-96 season.

Later, in the playoffs, the Bulls easily made their way to the NBA Finals and the NBA championship. Rodman, Jordan, and Scottie Pippen all made the All-Defensive First Team, the first time three players from the same team made it on the first team. Rodman led the league in rebounding for the fifth straight year, and Jordan won the scoring title, the second time that teammates had led the league in scoring and rebounding. They would repeat in 1997 and 1998 as the team three-peated for the second time in the decade. Rodman became a fan favorite for his behavior and would also take his jersey off and toss it to a fan, if he ever fouled out or was ejected from a game.

Rodman was known for his shocking behavior on the court, including his head butt of referee Ted Bernhardt[5] during a game in New Jersey on March 16, 1996. On January 15, 1997, Rodman was involved in another notorious incident during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. After tripping over cameraman Eugene Amos, Rodman kicked Amos in the groin.[6] Though he was not assessed a technical foul at the time, Rodman ultimately paid Amos a $200,000 settlement, and the league suspended Rodman for 11 games. Despite his behavior, Rodman was for the most part kept under control by coach Phil Jackson and Jordan during his time in Chicago.

Rodman left Chicago after the 1997-98 season as the Bulls started a massive rebuilding phase. He also finished his last major season, as he would only have brief stints with other NBA teams. Rodman was the premier rebounder of the 1990s with seven straight titles, and matched up defensively with players ranging from Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird, to Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Shawn Kemp, Karl Malone, and Charles Barkley. One of his most impressive feats came during the 1996 Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic, when Rodman shut down former Bull 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m), 235 lb (107 kg) Horace Grant and helped contain the 7 ft 1 in (2.16 m), 330 lb (150 kg) O'Neal, key to the Bulls' eventual sweep of the defending Eastern Conference champs. He also was credited for being able to shut down Karl Malone during both Finals series against the Utah Jazz and for breaking down center Frank Brickowski psychologically during the Finals series against the Seattle Supersonics. Perhaps Rodman's most impressive feat came in the 1996 NBA Finals, when he pulled down 11 offensive rebounds in both Games 2 and 6 against the Seattle SuperSonics, tying the all-time Finals record.

Post-Bulls career

After his stint with the Bulls, Rodman became a journeyman. He briefly joined the Los Angeles Lakers (wearing number 73) and helped them to a 17-6 record while averaging 11.2 rebounds per game. However, Rodman had taken a leave of absence for personal reasons and was released soon after. The following season he would join the Dallas Mavericks for 12 games. Rodman averaged 14.3 rebounds per game for the Mavericks. However, the Mavericks still had little success and Rodman was released after some critical comments of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. After a long break, he played for the Long Beach Jam of the newly-formed American Basketball Association during the 2003-04 season, with hopes of being called up to the NBA midseason. In the 2004-05 season, Rodman signed with the ABA's Orange County Crush and the following season with the league's Tijuana Dragons. He has also competed in three games for the Brighton Bears of the British Basketball League and one game for Torpan Pojat of the Finland's basketball league, Korisliiga since leaving the NBA.

Career awards and accomplishments

  • 5 time NBA Champion (1989 & 1990 (Detroit), 1996–98 (Chicago))
  • All-NBA Third Team (1992, 1995)
  • NBA All-Star Team (1990, 1992)
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award (1990, 1991)
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team (1989–93, 1995, 1996)
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team (1994)
  • NBA Top Rebounds Per Game (1992–98)
  • NBA Top Rebound Rate (1991–98)
  • NBA Top Total Rebounds (1992–94, 1998)
  • NBA Top Offensive Rebounds (1991–94, 1996, 1997)
  • NBA Top Defensive Rebounds (1992, 1994, 1998)
  • NBA Top Field Goal Percentage (1989)

Other work

Rodman is known for his controversial behavior and outlandish appearance and being notoriously prone to cursing in public or on live television during his playing career. He sported numerous tattoos and piercings, and frequently dyed his hair bright, artificial colors.

Rodman was also briefly married to Carmen Electra, and famously wore a wedding dress at a public appearance to promote his autobiography.[7] He was the winner of the Yucatan edition of the reality television series Celebrity Mole, shocking many since he took virtually no notes during the show, and when he did, he would simply write them down on a piece of napkin.

He also dated Madonna, and claims in his first autobiography that she actively tried to have a baby with him.

Professional wrestling

Rodman wrestled a few matches for World Championship Wrestling and was a member of the nWo with Hulk Hogan, a friend of his. His first match was at the July 1997 Bash At the Beach event where he teamed with Hogan in a loss to Lex Luger and The Giant. He skipped practice with the Bulls to wrestle, infuriating both basketball fans, and Head Coach Phil Jackson. As a result he was fined by the NBA for skipping practice. At Bash At the Beach '98, Rodman & Hogan defeated Karl Malone & Diamond Dallas Page. He came back in the summer of 1999 to feud with Macho Man. They had a match at Road Wild 1999 in which Macho Man shoved Rodman in a portable toilet and eventually won the match. Rumor has it Rodman was supposed to come back in 2000 for an appearance but Vince Russo opted for him not to after an unfavorable storyline involving fellow celebrity David Arquette.

Rodman would return to wrestling on July 30, 2000 for the i-Generation Superstars of Wrestling pay-per-view. At the Sydney SuperDome, he faced i-Generation Champion Curt Hennig but was disqualified by repeatedly attacking the referee, a nod to his actions on the NBA court. The event was subtitled Rodman Down Under.

Acting career

In 1997 Rodman made his feature film debut in the action film Double Team alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme. The film was critically panned and his performance earned him three Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst New Star, Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Screen Couple (shared with Van Damme). Rodman also starred in Simon Sez, a 1999 action/comedy and co-starred with Tom Berenger in a 2000 action film about skydiving titled Cutaway. Since then he has appeared in few acting roles outside of playing himself. Rodman also voiced Zack, a character resembling him, in Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball. He has also made an appearance in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun playing the character of himself, except being a fellow alien with the Solomon family.

Rodman World Tour

In 1996, Dennis Rodman had his own MTV reality talk show called The Rodman World Tour, which featured Rodman in a series of odd-ball situations.

Recent actions

Rodman was present at or participated in at least two different contests in Finland in 2005. In the summer, he was present at Sonkajärvi in a wife-carrying contest, but he resigned from the contest due to health problems. On November 6, 2005, he played one basketball match with the Torpan Pojat, playing against the Tapiolan Honka. He played 28 minutes, scored 17 points, and grabbed 6 rebounds. Fifteen of his 17 points were made behind the 3-point line, with a total of 13 attempts from beyond the arc. Rodman's presence drew a Finnish National League record crowd of 7,420 people to Helsinki Ice Hockey Dome.

Rodman released another autobiography entitled I Should Be Dead By Now, written with Jack Isenhour in 2005.

Rodman was named Commissioner of the Lingerie Football League in 2005.

Rodman has appeared in a number of reality TV series. In January 2006, Rodman appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in the UK. He entered the house at approximately 22:00 on January 5 and was shocked to find fellow American and friend Traci Bingham in the house. While on the show he became known for his regular use of the phrase, "I don't give a shit!". He took into the house with him a pack of "extra large" condoms and did not pack any underwear. During one of the tasks in the house where the housemates had to rank themselves and the others in order of fame, Rodman was put second to the British former comedian and comic quiz show host Michael Barrymore. He disagreed with this, saying that he should have been ranked highest. However, Rodman was not a well-known figure in the UK at the time. He struck up an unlikely romantic liaison with Faria Alam, but it was short-lived and ended after Alam was voted out. Whilst on the show Rodman also claimed that he has had sex with nearly 2000 women. Rodman was the fifth housemate evicted on a double eviction night with George Galloway. Rodman annoyed producers of the show and presenter Davina McCall, by refusing to remove his baseball cap and sunglasses at the post eviction interview, and by not directly answering questions on his opinions of other housemates. Rodman was subsequently banned from the reunion party on the following Sunday, although he recorded a message to his former housemates.

On 26 July 2006, Dennis appeared in UK series Love Island as a houseguest contracted to stay for a week.[8] Whilst on the show he struck a friendship with Chris Brosnan and Paul Danan, and flirted outrageously with Colleen Shannon much to the annoyance of Lee Otway, who later confronted him after a remark Paul Danan had made about Dennis' comments that he would "fuck her" after the show. After four days Dennis quit the show claiming he didn't come all the way around the world to be a so-called babysitter.[9]

In addition, he has appeared in Pros vs Joes on Spike TV.

On January 26, 2006, it was announced that Rodman had signed a one-game "experiment" deal for the UK basketball team Brighton Bears to play Guildford Heat on 28 January. If successful, the Bears have an option on further matches.[10]

Rodman was the first man, and the first sports star to pose (naked) for PETA's advertisement campaign "Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur".

Rodman, along with NBA ex-stars Darryl Dawkins, Kevin Willis, Calvin Murphy, Otis Birdsong and Alex English are slated to play two exhibition games in the Philippines. On April 27, they defeated a team of former Philippine Basketball Association stars in Mandaue City. Rodman delighted the crowd with his antics, scoring 5 points and grabbing 18 rebounds.[11] However, on May 1, Rodman's team lost to the Philippine national basketball team 110-102 at the Araneta Coliseum.

In Mandaue City, Cebu, locals were shocked at Rodman's snub of them and the media during his group's visit at the Mandaue City Hall where they met with mayor Teddy Ouano.[12] There were even children who never got the opportunity to present their prepared song in greeting him. West End Sports Tours president Mario Whitmire claimed that Rodman lacked sleep and has yet to adjust to the hot tropical weather.

Most shocking of all was an incident that happened during the visit when Rodman ate budbod (Philippine rice cake) that was served to them. He ate the delicacy without even peeling off the banana leaves wrapped around it. Immediately after the incident, Rodman isolated himself from the embarrassment.[13]

Rodman is scheduled to perform for the South Dragons in the Australian NBL in mid-September 2007 for a pre-season game against the Sydney Kings. It is believed he will earn US $70,000 (AUD 80,000) for the one-off appearance.[14]


  • Rodman, Robert Parish, Ron Harper and Robert Horry are the only three players to win multiple consecutive NBA Championships with two different teams.[15]
  • Ron Harper (Chicago Bulls 1995 - 1998), Robert Parish (Chicago Bulls 1996-1997) and Robert Horry (Los Angeles Lakers - 1999) were former teammates of Dennis Rodman.
  • His nicknames include "Dennis the Menace", "Rodzilla", "D-Rod", "Rod the Bod", and "Worm", given to him by his mother for wriggling around while playing pinball. In WCW, Hulk Hogan would call him "The Real Hot Rod" as a taunt toward rival wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, who long had the nickname "Hot Rod".
  • Key to Rodman's success as a rebounder in basketball was his ability to tip the ball repeatedly if he was challenged.
  • Rodman has been referenced in two video games. The first and earliest was in a game called Super Runabout: San Francisco Edition release for the Sega Dreamcast that features a character by the name of Radman, who is a retired basketball player turned police officer. In the Dead Or Alive game series a well-known character by the name of Zack, a Black Muay Thai fighter and DJ, is also based on Rodman. Rodman also provides the English voice for him in Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball, in which he wins big in a Las Vegas casino and buys a small island named after him.
  • Is a big fan of, and has appeared on stage with, Pearl Jam. In addition, his voice is heard on the Pearl Jam song "Black, Red, Yellow" and Pearl Jam song lyrics are featured in his autobiography Bad as I Wanna Be.
  • Was referred to in the Sci-Fi hit movie Men in Black, jokingly referring to him as a space alien.
  • In the song "300 bars and runnin" The Game says "...and i shine like diamonds they kicked me out of G-unit and i rebounded like Rodman..."

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