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.

Report: Paul George reached out to Damian Lillard to clear the air

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NBA players talk a lot of smack. The Clippers’ Patrick Beverley is a constant stream of it.

Both Beverley and Paul George got into it with Damian Lillard in the Clippers recent win over the Trail Blazers (when Lillard missed some clutch free throws). That spilled over to Instagram after the game when Lillard called out George for switching teams so often.

However, it got nasty when family and friends got involved. George’s girlfriend Daniela Rajic and Lillard’s sister, La’nae, went at each other on social media — La’nae Lillard called Rajic a stripper, Rajic called La’Nae a cow.

All that prompted George to call Lillard and clear the air, Chris Haynes of TNT said during the Blazers broadcast Tuesday.

Lillard and George have a history that goes back to last playoffs and what Lillard did to that Thunder. That beef is still around.

Players are generally pretty good about leaving the game on the court, and while it spills over to social media now and again it’s just an extension of the game. Family members tend to throw gas on those fires. That happened here.

Lillard used all that fuel — he has scored 112 points on 55% shooting (hitting 33-of-34 free throws) since that Clippers’ game. In doing so, he pushed Portland to two wins and the eighth seed in the West.

Three Things to Know: What you need to know about race for West play-in

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack — especially with games spread out every day in the bubble — so every weekday during the NBA restart we are here to help you break it all down. Here are three things you need to know from yesterday in the NBA.

1) What you need to know about race for West play-in

Four teams were alive in the chase for the final playoff spot in the West when they got out of bed Tuesday morning — Memphis, Portland, Phoenix, and San Antonio — and four were still alive when they went to bed Tuesday night.

But things looked very different by the end of the day. Portland — by virtue of a 61-point game by Damian Lillard, and helped by a Memphis loss — was the eighth seed and the team everyone else was chasing. The eighth seed has a huge advantage in the play-in series that is coming (it only has to win one of two games, the nine seed must sweep them both), and Portland had taken that away from Memphis. Still, nothing was secure yet.

Here are the play-in scenarios for each team (all four teams play Thursday).

Portland: Beat Brooklyn and the Trail Blazers are the eighth seed. It’s that simple. They control their own fate. If the Trail Blazers lose they only keep the eighth seed if everyone else loses. If Portland loses but two of the other three teams also lose, then the Blazers are the nine seed.

Memphis: Beat Milwaukee — who likely will be without Giannis Antetokounmpo after his headbutt of Moe Wagner — and Memphis can finish no worse than ninth. If the Grizzlies win and Trail Blazers lose, then Memphis regains the eighth seed. If the Grizzlies lose, they need both the Suns and Spurs to stay in the playoffs.

Phoenix: The Suns must beat the Mavericks to go 8-0 in the bubble, or they are out. And even going 8-0 may not be enough, Phoenix still needs Memphis and/or Portland to lose to move into either of the top two seeds (if both lose the Suns can be eight, just one and they finish ninth).

San Antonio: The Spurs must beat the Jazz to have any chance, lose and they are out. Even with a win San Antonio needs at least two of Portland/Memphis/Phoenix to lose to become the nine seed (if all three lose the Spurs can be the eighth seed, but that is a longshot).

2) Damian Lillard ties career-high 61 to will Portland to critical win

Paul George and Patrick Beverley talked smack from the bench, and it made Damian Lillard mad. You wouldn’t like Lillard when he’s mad…

If you’re an opponent. For the rest of us, it’s pure basketball joy. In the two games since the Clippers ran their mouths in a win, Lillard has scored 112 points on 55% shooting (hitting 33-of-34 free throws) and willing Portland to two wins and the eighth seed. On Tuesday, Lillard dropped 61 on Dallas.

You had better respect his f****** name and his game.

3) Devin Booker should be the bubble MVP, drops 35 to keep bubble Suns perfect

The NBA is giving out awards for the bubble — an NBA Player of the Seeding Games and NBA All-Seeding Games Team — and Devin Booker is going to pick up some hardware. Or should, at least.

The Suns remained perfect at 7-0 in the bubble on Tuesday beating what’s left of Philadelphia 130-117 behind 35 from Booker.

Booker has craved respect he feels he hasn’t gotten up to this point, mostly because the Suns’ teams he has been on are terrible (and the defensive issues of those teams fall partly on him, although there is much more at play as well). In the bubble, he has earned that respect.

Respect alone won’t get the Suns into the play-in series, another win won’t even do that (as noted above, the Suns still need help even with a win). But the respect is there, and that is something.

Report: CJ McCollum has been playing through fractured lower back

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CJ McCollum hit two critical free throws late Tuesday to put Portland up three late on Dallas and secure the win.

But he had a rough night overall, shooting 2-of-14 overall. His shooting numbers are down across the board through this restart, not terrible but down from the level the world has seen from one of the games most feared scorers.

Now we know why: A fractured lower back. Dwight Jaynes of NBC Sports Northwest broke the news.

Sources told NBC Sports Northwest prior to the game that McCollum has been playing with a L3 vertebral transverse process fracture (non-displaced) since last Thursday. In layman’s terms, he has a fracture in his lower back. He has played three games since the injury.

While this injury is not as bad as “a fractured back” sounds, it has slowed other players who had it, including Utah’s Mike Conley.

Portland has had success despite a slowed McCollum, in part because Gary Trent Jr. has stepped up and taken on a larger role on both ends of the court (including drawing a charge on Kristaps Porzingis that sealed the Blazers win over the Mavericks).

That win put Portland in as the eighth seed in the West, a spot they can hold with a win against Brooklyn on Thursday. That would put them in a play-in series — where if they won the reward would be LeBron James and the Lakers. To reach that point and threaten Los Angeles, Portland is going to need a lot out of McCollum. The question is how much does he have to give with this injury?

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo ejected after headbutting Moe Wagner

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The Milwaukee Bucks are lucky they have another seeding game remaining because there is a good chance Giannis Antetokounmpo gets suspended a game for this.

The reigning (and soon-to-be two time) MVP let Washington’s Moe Wagner get under his skin. After Wagner took a charge from Antetokounmpo the two had to be separated. They kept jawing, and when they came together again, Antetokounmpo headbutted Wagner.

Wagner may have sold that a little, but that is unquestionably a headbutt. Antetokounmpo deserved the Flagrant II and ejection that came with it.

The one-game suspension that is coming will not cost the Bucks anything, they have the No. 1 seed in the East locked up. However, that one game is aginst the Grizzlies and if Memphis wins it gets the nine seed in the West at worst (eighth of Portland were to lose Thursday).

Wagner has a gift for getting under an opponent’s skin. Antetokounmpo has to do better keeping his emotions in check, because come the playoffs they will get tested like never before.