Dennis “The Worm” Rodman is a Hall of Fame power forward (he did play some SF for Detroit) who played for the Pistons, Spurs, Bulls, Lakers, and Mavericks over his 14 seasons in the NBA. He is a two-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and a part of 5 championship teams (two in Detroit and three in Chicago). Rodman was an iconoclast and an innovator in the NBA… utterly unique and immediately identifiable. Starting in 1993, Rodman became known for his outspoken nature, his wild and colorful hair, his multiple piercings, and his many tattoos… at a time when professional athletes typically maintained a very conservative image. True to the mid-90s, Rodman looked more the part of Lollapalooza-goer than jock. In fact, it is safe to say that Dennis Rodman ushered in the era of the tattooed baller.
Dennis Rodman is a troubled individual. He has long-term alcohol abuse issues, and is apparently still off the wagon. He has been arrested several times for domestic abuse (against multiple different women) and driving under the influence.
It is not our place to discuss to what degree you can celebrate a person for the good they have wrought despite all the bad that comes with them… that is for you, the reader, to decide. Obviously all the pain, damage, and destruction he has caused is something he should be held accountable for and is not something to be taken lightly. For better and for worse, Rodman remains a very public figure and notable name at age 55 (and 16 years removed from playing NBA basketball). He seems to inhabit the same zone in popular culture and the media as Mike Tyson where every gaffe and foible, no matter how serious or negative or innocent or bizarre, is shrugged off with equal measure. The thinking is something along the lines of, “Oh that’s just Dennis being Dennis. What’ll he do next?”
Some of these stories in this article are harmless. Some of these stories are despicable or sad. All of them are true. While we are sure that there are other stories that we might not know about that are deserving to be on a list like this, we present you 15 insane Dennis Rodman stories.
30 47 or 28
This one isn’t exactly about Dennis Rodman, but about his father. Dennis’ dad, Philander (yes his name really is Philander!), wasn’t around for very long in Dennis’ life… which could be one of many reasons for Dennis’ future problems. It appears, though, that Philander Rodman Jr. wasn’t around for very long with any family… as he was busy fathering dozens of children.
According to Philander Rodman Jr. himself, Philander has fathered between 26 and 28 children. That by itself is pretty unbelievable. That would be nearly 2 full NBA rosters! According to Dennis Rodman, however, Philander gave Dennis 46 brothers and sisters around the world (daddy was Air Force and settled in the Philippines). To put that into perspective, the average elementary public school class size according to the National Center for Education Statistics is 21.2 kids. That means that Philander’s progeny would fill up two and a quarter classrooms.
28 Lingerie Football League Commissioner
The title and the photo really say it all about this one; we didn’t even have to get clever in naming it. Odd as it may be to imagine it, there is a football league of scantily clad women playing full contact. Not only that, but it is now in its 13th year and is expanding and adding international sister leagues. Surely this league was developed to provide positive sports role models for little girls everywhere.
In what could only be described as a publicity stunt, Rodman was appointed commissioner of the league in 2005. While there is very little information available about the length of his appointment or the level to which he governed the league (we can’t be positive, but we have to assume he was the David Stern of the LFL), there is a press release put out by the company that founded the league. In it, they mention that ahead of ‘Lingerie Bowl III’, Rodman planned to institute “an immediate initiative… that will include random cosmetic surgery testing, monitoring of all uniform fittings and mandatory end zone dances.”
Later in the press release, they promise that Rodman will have an ‘on-field presence’ at the Bowl, “which sources indicate will include lingerie, fire and a cage…”. We attempted to reach those sources, but were unable to confirm whether things transpired as they’d said. Darn.
26 Tijuana and Finland and the Road Back
Say what you will about Rodman, but he really did love to play the game of basketball and really loved the idea of playing in the NBA. Following his tumultuous final season in 2000, when he played in only 12 games for the Dallas Mavericks before being kicked off the team, he took a long hiatus from playing professionally.
In 2003, at the age of 43, he began working on making a comeback to the NBA. To do this, he began to play in the newly created ABA (a semi-pro league with no association to the original ABA) with the Long Beach Jam. Following a season in Long Beach, he played with the Orange County Crush. The season after, he signed on with another team in the league (the league has had over 350 teams in the 16 years of its operation), the Dragones de Tijuana. He then played 3 games for the Brighton Bears of the British Basketball League and one game with Torpan Pojat, a Finnish basketball team of the Korisliiga (that’s the Finnish professional league). Despite all those miles traveled and games played, he never again played in the NBA.
24 The Giant, Tattooed, Pierced Conan O’Brien (with Green Hair)
In 1996, while he was in the process of winning three straight championships with the Chicago Bulls, MTV decided to give Dennis Rodman his own television talk show. Because the 1990s (and Rodman) were all about being extreme and gritty, the talk show had a reality TV vibe and did not take place in a studio… but instead took place on the road in different locales, and Rodman was given a large tour bus to make help make things happen.
“The Rodman World Tour” wound up lasting only 8 episodes, but the guest list reads just like anyone would expect a mid-90s MTV talk show guest list would: Henry Rollins, Jerry Cantrell (of Alice In Chains), Pat Smear (of The Germs, Nirvana, and The Foo Fighters), Ben Stiller, David Alan Grier, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jenny McCarthy included. The show was perhaps a forerunner to some of the humor that finds its way to Adult Swim these days as the L.A. Times describes in a review of the show, “...the main purpose being to see how often Rodman can make them squirm.”
22 Dennis Butts In
As we’d said in the introduction, not every insane story about Rodman is cute or harmless. Much of what garnered attention in the three ring circus that was Dennis Rodman’s career was completely objectionable, and even dangerous, behavior.
On March 16, 1996, Rodman’s Bulls team was playing a game against the (then-) New Jersey Nets. During the course of the game, Rodman was ejected for receiving two technical fouls. Unhappy about the ejection, Rodman stormed over to referee Ted Bernhardt, yelling and cursing along the way. When Rodman was close to Bernhardt, he very quickly and sharply headbutted the referee, and then stormed back off (again, yelling and cursing along the way). As he took off, Rodman removed his jersey and turned back around to yell at the court (and presumably Bernhardt); refusing to leave to the locker room. Eventually he did head toward the locker room, but violently knocked over a cooler in the process.
The fallout from the incident was a six game suspension and a total of $203,926 in lost wages (between being suspended the games without pay plus fines for being ejected and for attacking Bernhardt). As the Chicago Tribune pointed out following the incident, while Rodman might have been unhappy with his punishment, he would likely have incurred jail time (of two-to-five years) and a civil suit if he did what he’d done anywhere but a professional basketball court.
20 ‘Little Dennis’ Gets Broken (3 Times!)
Dennis Rodman always seems to pop up (no pun intended) in the headlines… despite being away from the NBA for 16 years. Very recently, he had a run of time in the spotlight. The one that captured peoples’ interest and attention the most stemmed from a video interview he did with popular alternative news source Vice for a recurring series called ‘Party Legends’.
In the video Rodman, aided by cartoon re-enactments and sound effects, goes on to describe the three separate instances in which he experienced a penile fracture (or, a broken penis). To make things more G-rated and funny, Rodman’s rod is covered up by a cartoon eggplant in each of the three segments (and is inexplicably the logo of his jersey of segment 2, meaning that they’re implying he played for the Detroit Dennis Rodman’s Members).
To summarize, a broken penis sounds horrible and involves a copious amount of spraying blood. Two of the times it happened (the first and the last), it involved the same woman: the first time because she asked him to take a running leap into the act and the other time for reasons unknown apart from it including vigorous activities. The second incident involved another woman who was overeager and ‘missed’.
Perhaps more shocking than the revelation of the incidents themselves is that a member of the hospital staff during the third time decided to blackmail Rodman by threatening to send photos of his mutilated manhood to the National Enquirer.
17 Private Time with Dennis
Rodman was no stranger to technical fouls, ejections, and suspensions. None of these incidents was more severe, however, than the suspension and fines that resulted from Dennis Rodman’s interaction with Eugene Amos, a scoreboard cameraman for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
During a game against the T’Wolves on January 15th, 1997, Rodman fell to the floor at the end of the play. In frustration and anger, Rodman, kicked out straight towards Amos. Rodman was actually aiming at a small camera located nearby Amos (and presumably in his way either at the end of the play or where he had fallen). In kicking at the camera, he also kicked Eugene Amos right in the groin. Amos proceed to lose consciousness and was carried off the court by stretcher and taken to a hospital for treatment.
The kick, which came just the next season after having headbutted referee Ted Bernhardt, was punished harshly and swiftly by the league. Rodman was suspended for 11 games without pay (although that suspension was meant to be indefinite until Rodman could prove to a league-appointed therapist that he would not be a danger to others), and fined $25,000. Rodman also agreed to pay Amos $200,000 for the damage and trauma he’d caused. It is estimated that Rodman lost over $1 million from the kick and its fallout.
Rodman then managed to transform his bad boy image and free time into another lucrative opportunity, but that’s another story.
15 nWo: New Worm Order
Fresh off a suspension for having kicked a cameraman in the groin, and just a season removed from having headbutted a referee, Rodman was faced with an abundance of free time and an image of an unruly villain. Seizing opportunities as they presented themselves, Rodman parlayed his abundances into a wrestling career (with help from his friend Hulk Hogan). In fact, he was fined $20,000 for leaving his team just before Game 4 of the 1997 Finals versus the Utah Jazz to participate in wrestling.
Rodman was a part of the New World Order (nWo), a group of wrestlers founded by Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, and Kevin Nash; having joined the year following its introduction. The dark and edgy image of the nWo suited Rodman nearly perfectly, and Rodman began his wrestling foray with an episode of Monday Nitro. His first match was in July of 1997 for the Bash at the Beach (in which he formed a tag-team with Hulk Hogan).
Rodman continued with wrestling over the next several years… even having a match with NBA rival Karl Malone in 1998. He retired from wrestling in 2000, after an event called ‘Rodman Down Under’. In 2008, Rodman came out of retirement to wrestle D-List Celebrities as part of a television series called “Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling”... including Dustin Diamond and former boxer Butterbean.
13 Rodman Gets Real
After his playing days in the NBA, Rodman received money and attention in a variety of strange ways. He was no stranger to oddball company promotions and appearances, such as his stint as commissioner of the Lingerie Football League and a trip to the Vatican during the choosing of a new pope to promote an Irish gambling website (Rodman’s catchphrase for the promotion was “...if he’s black, you get your money back.”). Dennis’ main source of spotlight, and presumably money, was as a frequent participant/contestant on reality television shows.
Some of the shows he appeared on were competitions, such as “Celebrity Apprentice” where he competed for a job with businessman/Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump (where he was the 5th contestant to leave the show). Some of the shows were rooted in therapy and working to get his alcohol problem in check, like “Sober House” and “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew”. He also appeared in “All-Star Dealers”, “Celebrity Big Brother”, “Pros vs. Joes”, “Celebrity Blackjack”, “Celebrity Poker Showdown”, “The Mole”, and a show called “Celebrity Love Island”.
It also appears, though he likely did not get paid for it, that he went uncredited on an episode of “Cops”... when he had attended the Sturgis motorcycle rally.
11 The Women of MTV: Madonna and Carmen Electra
Dennis Rodman’s love life, while not always public, has oftentimes been the subject of public attention and scrutiny. Perhaps the highest profile person involved with Rodman was pop icon, Madonna. The two dated for just a couple months (while Rodman was a member of the Spurs). Rodman later revealed, however, that Madonna was desperate to have Rodman’s child (and sent some strongly worded faxes to that effect). Once, she actually flew from Las Vegas to New York because she was fertile and looking to get impregnated.
Dennis Rodman has been married three times, but no marriage was as publicized or as short as the one in 1998 to MTV personality, Playboy model, and sometime-actress, Carmen Electra. The pair were married in Las Vegas in November of 1998 and filed for divorce just five months later. The highly tumultuous relationship was apparently very physically intimate… and Rodman has come forward as saying that Electra would use racial epithets constantly in the bedroom. Rodman and Electra were both charged during a domestic disturbance.
9 CNN & The Newsworthy Embarrassment
In 2014, Dennis Rodman appeared on a CNN show hosted by Chris Cuomo alongside several former NBA players (including Charles Smith, Vin Baker, and Doug Christie). The reason for the appearance was that the group of players were embarking on a trip to the hermit nation of North Korea to play an exhibition basketball game and conduct clinics in the country. The trip to the DPRK was taking place in the shadow of the conviction of American missionary Kenneth Bae being arrested and charged by North Korea on suspicion of planning to overthrow the North Korean government.
As Charles Smith tried to act as the mouthpiece for the players against Cuomo’s battery of questions regarding the ill-timed trip and its political implications, Rodman (slouched in his chair and wearing sunglasses indoors) fidgeted and consistently attempted to respond (Smith talked over Rodman, not letting him get in a word, and on several occasions put a reassuring hand on Rodman to calm him). But as the questions began to get more pointed about Kenneth Bae, Rodman erupted into an incoherent tirade. He implied that Bae was guilty of crimes, despite not knowing what they were, and dwelled for an uncomfortably long time on how each of the players had left their families to travel abroad. The outburst was partly unintelligible and had all the markings of a wrestling monologue.
Rodman would at a later date apologize for his appearance on the show; blaming alcohol and stress for the reasons behind his rant. Bae, upon his release, actually wound up thanking Rodman for helping bring awareness to his imprisonment and speeding up his release.
7 Dennis Rodman… Action Star?!
Among the multiple ventures that Rodman has embarked on in his 55 years on planet Earth, perhaps none is more ridiculous (or easy to poke fun at) than his acting career. At the height of his popularity, Rodman guest-starred on a number of TV shows like “Baywatch” and “3rd Rock From the Sun”. He also played a recurring character named Deke Reynolds in a show called “Soldier of Fortune, Inc.”
No acting gig of Rodman’s was as high profile, however, as his action star turn opposite Belgian kickboxer Jean-Claude Van Damme in 1997’s “Double Team” (if you didn’t catch on, this is a play on words because the title is also a basketball term). The movie was helmed by acclaimed Hong Kong action director and producer Tsui Hark (“Once Upon a Time in China”, “A Better Tomorrow”, “A Chinese Ghost Story”), but was universally panned. It currently holds an 11% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and the movie wound up winning 3 Razzie Awards for Rodman: Worst New Star, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple (shared with Van Damme). The movie maintains a ‘so-bad-it’s-fun’ reputation, however.
Among his other acting credits, Rodman was featured in a sketch comedy film called “Blunt Movie”, provided the voice for a character in sexy volleyball video game “Dead Or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball”, and is the star of a film about little people playing basketball called “The Minis”... which carries a 2.8 rating on IMDb.
5 Dennis Rodman Wants to Marry Dennis Rodman
1996 was a busy year for Rodman. In the middle of the Bulls threepeat, Dennis released a biography called “Bad As I Wanna Be” (which was subsequently turned into a made-for-TV movie). Rodman was commonly dressed and styled in unconventional ways; typically looking like a rock star and not a defense-first power forward. The most unconventional look came during a book signing in New York for his book, however. Dennis appeared at the signing in a designer wedding dress and veil. For added effect, he wore a long blonde wig and had his face made up in a very feminine and flattering way… replete with blue eye shadow, foundation, and a healthy dose of red lipstick. He carried a white bouquet and was accompanied at the signing by five women dressed in tuxedos.
In addition to wearing the dress, Rodman revealed at the signing that he was bisexual. While this might not turn too many heads in 2016, any athlete or public figure revealing a sexual orientation other than hetero made major waves in the media in 1996. He then diminished the veracity of the claim, however, by insisting that he wanted to marry himself.
3 Wrong Way Rodman
Broken genitals aside, Rodman very recently appeared in the news when it was reported by TMZ that he was considered a “person of interest” in a hit and run accident. In the early hours of July 20, 2016, Rodman was supposedly witnessed driving the wrong way in the carpool lane of the I-5 Freeway in Santa Ana, California.
The incident took place after Rodman had been seen drinking and performing karaoke at a venue called the Velvet Lounge. There is, in fact, cell phone footage of him performing alongside the drag queen host of the karaoke night. Luckily there were no serious injuries resulting from the accident. As of the writing of this article, Rodman has not actually been charged with anything, but charges are being recommended by the California Highway Patrol… suggesting that the Orange County District Attorney’s Office formally charge Rodman for the very serious felony infractions.
At a recent book signing, Dennis Rodman defended himself, by saying “Life is good-- that’s why I’ve never been charged. Guess what? Nothing happened. There was no wreck, there was no injuries, there was no nothing… so I guess it’s going on hearsay.”
1 The Worm and The Dear Respected Comrade
Writer and media personality Bill Simmons has a term for public figures whose escapades are so regularly outlandish, whose mental states are so questionable, and whose sobriety is so perpetually challenged that quite literally nothing said of their recent goings-ons would be surprising. He refers to this status as the Tyson Zone (implying that nothing Mike Tyson ever does or says could be considered a shock). Dennis Rodman is most assuredly a member of the Tyson Zone himself. Sometimes, however, a story is so off-the-charts bizarro that it tests the very limits of the Tyson Zone. Here is one such true story: Dennis Rodman has befriended North Korean dictator and potential ender of the world in a nuclear apocalypse, Kim Jong-Un.
Jong-Un was schooled abroad under a false name to throw people off the fact that he was in line for a despot’s throne. Growing up in the West, Kim developed a fascination with basketball… and especially with the mid-90s Bulls. As part of a documentary being made about the hermit kingdom, aforementioned Vice brought Rodman to meet the Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army.
The meeting attracted a large amount of media attention. Moreover, it appears as though Kim and Rodman hit it off. Dennis Rodman has since pledged to be Kim Jong-Un’s “friend for life”, and visited on more than one occasion. In celebration of Kim’s birthday, Dennis Rodman helped organize a team of former NBA players to play an exhibition game against the Korean men’s basketball team. It has since come out in interviews that Rodman had misled the players about the nature of the trip (the ex-ballers were under the impression that it was a clinic and sports ambassadorship trip).