If you read just one thing today — other than PBT, because by definition you are already reading that — I suggest you set aside some time for Yahoo’s Michael Silver’s recounting of Dennis Rodman’s Hall of Fame enduction night.
The story starts after 3 a.m. in a strip club surrounded by Patron shots and Cuban cigars. As it should. Steve Kerr jokingly asked if they had a game tomorrow, they were partying like it was 1996 again.
But this portrait of Rodman, filled with interesting details — he didn’t have a drink until he was 30 — is far more complex. Silver knows Rodman better than any journalist (he co-wrote “Walk on the Wild Side” with Rodman) and he gives an honest assessment that doesn’t fit in the preconceived mold.
Yes, there was some truth to the caricature: Rodman was, in fact, an attention-seeking self-promoter who understood the direct correlation between notoriety and moneymaking possibilities. He did (and does) love to drink and gamble and stay up all night, and he had no compulsion to put up resistance to the legions of hot and unencumbered women in constant orbit around him.
The real Rodman, however, was far more complex and uncontrived than commonly portrayed. There was a point to the reckless hedonism, and it wasn’t to cash in or to bathe in fame. Rather, it was a desire to poke at the conventions of what he believed was a boring, bloated and restrictive American culture, to honor the public-theater antics of ’60s counterculture cavorters like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Ken Kesey and, most important, to wear his weirdness with pride.
Read the story and the speech Rodman gave came off as very real — emotional, profane, funny, dark, complicated. Not a caricature but a heartfelt person with a lot of issues.
Go read the whole post, but I will pass along one more tidbit, my favorite note from a fantastic column.
“You know that classic (Sports Illustrated) shot where Dennis is completely sprawled out?” Kerr asked. “Well, that was off one of my missed shots, and Dennis was trying to save the possession. Everyone saw that and said, ‘Wow, what an incredible dive!’ I said, ‘Wow, what an awful shot! I really had to miss that one badly for the ball to bounce that far.”
Rodman laughed so hard, his cowboy hat nearly fell off.
Dennis Rodman entered the Hall of Fame like no other.
It wasn’t just the speech (which was emotional and genuine), it was the sideshow that travels with Rodman. He didn’t just bring in a motley crew, he actually brought in Motley Crue. He arrived by helicopter, thanked Penny Marshal and basically said Phil Jackson was a better father than his actual father.
And then there were his fans outside. Like this guy below, who wore a wedding dress to win tickets to the ceremony from Rodman. My first question was “where do you buy a wedding dress for a man?” But then I realized I don’t really want to know the answer.
Thanks to CSNChicago.com for the video. We think.
Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are by their nature emotional. This year’s was no different. There were memorable moments, watching Tex Winter get up to the stage, Artis Gilmore finally being recognized, Theresa Edwards’ powerful speech.
Dennis Rodman was Dennis Rodman — raw, emotional, wearing a sequin jacket with his number and saying Pistons and Bulls — and in the end powerful like few others.
“I didn’t play the game for the money. I didn’t play the game to be famous. What you see here is an illusion, that I love to be an individual that is very colorful….
“I could have been anywhere in the world. I could have been dead. I could have been a drug dealer. I could have been homeless, I was homeless. A lot of you guys here, a lot of you guys in the Hall of Fame know what I’m talking about, living in the projects. You just want to get out of the projects. And I did that, but it took a lot of hard work and a lot of bumps along the road…
“People ask if I have any regrets as a basketball player, I have one regret: I wish I was a better father.
Rodman talked about the pain of a dad who made money writing a book about him but never spoke to him. He talked about his mother, how their relationship was strained and he felt bad about that. He also talked about the four men who played the father role for him — Phil Jackson, Jerry Buss, Chuck Daly and James Rich. He thanked Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
We will get up the video soon. You need to see it (with the kids out of the room). But in the end, this was vintage Rodman. Flamboyant, raw and true.