Rodman wedding dress

Rodman being basketball ambassador to North Korea barely makes his craziest Top 10

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Dennis Rodman — Hall of Fame basketball player and Hall of Fame wild personality — is back in the news. Actually, I’m not sure the legendary Piston and Bull (among others) was really ever out of the news. But he’s making headlines again as he is in North Korea?

For fun, let’s take a look at Rodman’s 10 craziest moments (or the ones I picked out of hundreds of options, anyway).

10. Dennis Rodman goes to North Korea as a basketball ambassador. Rodman in a country testing nuclear weapon missiles, I don’t see what could possibly go wrong. This is happening right now, in 2013, as Rodman is there with three Harlem Globetrotters as basketball ambassadors. The idea is to break down barriers by having Rodman teach basketball clinics and play some pick-up games with the North Koreans. All for a Vice Media production to air on HBO in early April. Again, I can’t imagine this going poorly.

9. The movie “Double Team.” If you’ve never seen Rodman’s 1999 action movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme, do not rent it. Stay away. You can do anything short of taking up smoking with those two hours and your life will be better for it. Rodman did win a lot of awards for the film — it was a Razzies hit.

8. Rodman dresses in wedding gown so he can marry himself. To promote the book “Bad As I Wanna Be” Rodman said he was bisexual, dressed in a wedding gown at a book signing and said he was going to marry himself. He said he got $10 million for the book and the stunt, by the way, so think about what you would do for $10 million before casting blame here.

7. MTV’s “Rodman World Tour.” Back in 1996 MTV had this idea that having Dennis Rodman traveling the world and meeting other celebrities would make a great show (this was before MTV figured out it was cheaper and better television to just throw a few unknown a****** in a house together). The show was generally filled with awkward moments and meetings with the likes of Jay Leno, and Whoopi Goldberg.

6. Rodman kicks a photographer in the… groin. There are many moments of Dennis Rodman just losing it on the court, but this moment is one of the most famous and replayed.

5. Rodman dates Madonna. It was short lived, just a few glorious months in 1994, but this was the ultimate strange celebrity couple. It filled the tabloids and would have minted TMZ millions if it existed back then. Rodman said during their relationship Madonna wanted him to get her pregnant. I think we can all be thankful that didn’t work out.

4. Rodman enters the wrestling ring. Back in 1998 he joined Hulk Hogan and whoever else in the rogue New World Order where he wrestled against Karl Malone. Not surprisingly, Rodman was actually pretty good at the fake wrestling thing.

3. Rodman saying Larry Bird was overrated because he was white. This was early, pre-tats, Detroit Pistons Dennis Rodman saying what frankly to this day is strongly believed by some in the African-American community. Of course, Rodman said this after Bird’s Celtics just beat his Pistons in the 1987 playoffs. It’s also not true. Ask Magic Johnson about it. You don’t finish with career averages of 24 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists per game with three rings and three MVPs because of the color of your skin.

2. Rodman headbutts a referee. Nope, you can’t do that. Rodman was with the Bulls in 1996 and was ejected late in the first quarter of a random regular season. And he snaps — he headbutts the referee, rips off his jersey, knocks over a Gatorade container then leaves. Best part of the video is the bemused Phil Jackson.

1. The night Rodman slept in a car in the Palace of Auburn Hills parking lot with a shotgun on his lap. That really happened and he discussed it in his book “Bad as I Want To Be.” Clearly Rodman was and is dealing with serious mental issues in his life and that leads to scary moments like this where he said he contemplated suicide. Rodman was rich and famous but said he felt empty inside. He didn’t kill himself, what he decided that night was he needed to stop being who other people wanted him to be. He was not going to be phony; he was going to be himself. And that led to a lot of the moments above, Rodman being Rodman.

Pistons-Kings game delayed for smoke over court (video)

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DeMarcus Cousins, in his eternal battle with referees (and everyone else), retroactively won every argument he’s ever had when he had to alert the officials in last night’s Pistons-Kings game to the large cloud of smoke coming toward the court. It was only then that the refs stopped play.

But the best reaction to the mistimed fog machine was Sacramento coach Dave Joerger:

LeBron James tweets: I’m not mad at Cavaliers GM David Griffin

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers rallies his teammates in the huddle during player introductions prior to the game Golden State Warriors at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
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After tearing into the Cavaliers’ roster construction last night, LeBron James said he’d tweet even more thoughts.

LeBron delivered, softening the point everyone amplified (that he wants roster improvements) and emphasizing the point that got overlooked (that he’s on board with Cleveland general manager David Griffin):

I’m guessing LeBron saw how his comments went over and wanted to quiet the storm he created. What he said sounds so much more resentful. These tweets read as much more constructive.

But the underlying point remains: LeBron is unsatisfied with the roster.

He won’t be a free agent until 2018, but remember, dissatisfaction with the Heat’s roster contributed to him bolting Miami.

Wizards wearing all black to Celtics game for a figurative funeral

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The Celtics and Wizards have a little rivalry brewing:

The latest chapter comes for tonight’s game, with the Wizards – imitating a commonly used fashion for closeout playoff games – wearing all black to the arena.

Kelly Oubre Jr.:

We’re wearing all black to the game. So you know where we’re going with that.

Round three. Let’s get it.

Wall (as Beal yells encouragement in the background):

All black everything. A funeral.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

When Jae Crowder was asked about the Wizards all-black gear, his initial response…“That’s cute!”

Isaiah Thomas, via Blakely:

“This is definitely not Game 7 or the playoffs,” said Isaiah Thomas. “But if they want to take it that serious, they can.”

Gotta agree with the Celtics here. This is an absurd level of motivational showmanship for a January game.

But I also love it! These petty feuds are fantastic and spice up a long regular season.

My favorite part of the Wizards’ funeral motif: Even if they “bury” Boston tonight, these teams meet again in March.

‘It’s eating me alive:’ DeMarcus Cousins again leading Kings’ longshot playoff push

Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins, right, drives against Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 20, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
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When the Kings drafted DeMarcus Cousins, he named his rookie goals: “Get to the playoffs, go for the championship.” But the NBA humbled the young player, as Sacramento went just 24-58 and missed the postseason for the fifth straight year. Cousins emerged for his second season resolute on a more-modest goal: “Playoffs. We’ve got to make the playoffs this year. It’s not even a goal. It’s basically in our contract, I believe. So, we’ve got to make the playoffs this year.”

Five seasons later, Cousins is still chasing that elusive postseason trip.

“It’s eating me alive,” Cousins said. “Every loss or every time another team wins in battling for the eighth spot, it’s eating me alive. Our only goal is to be in the playoffs this season.”

A depressing chase for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference, where every team in the race is at least seven games under .500, has opened the door for the 17-27 Kings. They’re 1.5 games and three teams out of playoff position – a more daunting challenge than often realized. Not only must they play better, they must hope a couple teams ahead of them don’t also heat up. 538 gives Sacramento just a 5% chance of reaching the postseason, and ESPN is even more pessimistic at 3.8%.

Beginning his career with seven straight lottery trips would be another crushing blow to Cousins, who has built a credible case as the NBA’s best center. Greg Monroe is the only current player with more win shares who hasn’t reached the playoffs:

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Nobody nears Cousins besides Monroe, and the next-closest player, Jazz center Rudy Gobert, likely makes the playoffs this year. Monroe leads in win shares, because he entered the league more polished than Cousins and built a head start (and because this stat probably inflates’ Monroe’s contributions relative to Cousins’.) Monroe has never neared Cousins’ peak, and Monroe is now a backup for the Bucks. The only thing second-team about Cousins is his two All-NBA appearances.

Kevin Love is the only other player since the NBA-ABA merger to make multiple All-NBA teams before his first playoff season. He, of course, left the Timberwolves for the Cavaliers to escape lists like these.

On the other hand, there have been indications from both sides Cousins will soon sign a veteran-designated-player contract extension projected to be worth more than $219 million over five years. Staying in Sacramento and playing for owner Vivek Ranadive seems like the surest bet to keep Cousins’ postseason drought active.

Cousins already ranks in the top 25 all-time in win shares before a player’s first playoff season (which doesn’t count this season, because playoff teams aren’t yet determined):

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Cousins has 5.2 win shares this season and counting. Missing the playoffs again would launch him into the top 10 of this dubious list – and he could keep climbing.

Not only do the Kings face daunting odds to reach the postseason this year, it’s difficult to project them into the playoffs for the foreseeable future. Years of roster mismanagement have taken a toll.

Since drafting Cousins, Sacramento has held top-10 picks every year. Those have netted on draft night: Jimmer Fredette, John Salmons, Thomas Robinson, Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas, Willie Cauley-Stein, Georgios Papagiannis, Skal Labissiere and Bogdan Bogdanovic – who’ve combined for a measly 2.2 win shares this season. And most of those win shares come from Stauskas and Robinson, who no longer play for the Kings.

In fact, Stauskas was sent out in a disastrous trade that gives the 76ers swap rights on Sacramento’s 2017 first-rounder* and Sacramento’s unprotected 2019 first-rounder.

*The Kings’ first-round pick must fall in the top 10 to be swap-eligible. Otherwise, it goes to the Bulls, the result of another botched trade.

Sacramento has also recently struck out on major free agents and then settled for Arron Afflalo, Kosta Koufos, Anthony Tolliver, Garrett Temple, Matt Barnes and Ty Lawson. That adds up to one mediocre supporting cast.

Meanwhile, Cousins is better than ever. He has taken a larger offensive burden, including as a distributor and suddenly dangerous 3-point shooter, while cutting down his turnover rate. Defenders are often overmatched, and they foul him more than anyone in the league. And while Cousins’ defense comes and goes, it can be quite impressive while he’s locked in.

The result is a team that plays at a 41-win pace with Cousins on the floor and a 17-win pace when he sits, continuing a disparity seen over the last few years. Hera are the Kings win paces over 82 games with Cousins on (purple) and off (black):

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Obviously, teams generally play better with their stars and starters on the court, and Cousins is a star who usually shares the court with other starters. But this gap is particularly egregious, and Cousins’ fellow starters have underwhelmed.

So, more and more falls on Cousins’ shoulders.

Playing for his sixth head coach and third general manager in seven seasons, Cousins sets the tone for the Kings, for better or worse. He plays with a unique rage, sneering resentfully at anyone who gets in his way on the court – like players trying to defend him or referees, gasp, calling a foul on him. He leads the league with 12 technical fouls and is on pace to get (at least) 16 and an automatic suspension, which he also triggered last year.

His highs are incredibly high and his lows are unnecessarily low.

That moodiness has frustrated coaches and teammates, but it also sometimes works himself and his teammates into a productive frenzy. Sacramento usually plays passionately, which is both to its credit and a sign of a talent scarcity considering the team still loses so frequently.

“I’m still confident,” Cousins said, “and I still believe we’re going to make that push for the playoffs.”

For the last few years, Cousins has looked unstoppable while the Kings have been quite easily stoppable. He’s trying to drag the franchise up with him, but optimism and desire might not be enough. At a certain point we must ask: What more can Cousins do?