Silver Screen Artists

DENNIS RODMAN: His Life Path to the 1986 Draft and Beyond!

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Dennis Keith Rodman...

Dennis (born May 13, 1961) is a retired professional basketball player, who played for the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks in the National Basketball Association (NBA). He was nicknamed "The Worm" and was known for his fierce defensive and rebounding abilities.

So Here is the "nutshell" version of the ups and downs of Dennis Rodman as seen through the public eye: Rodman played at the small forward position in his early years before becoming a power forward. He earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors seven times and won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award twice. He also led the NBA in rebounds per game for a record seven consecutive years and won five NBA championships. His biography at states that he is "arguably the best rebounding forward in NBA history". On April 1, 2011, the Pistons retired Rodman's No. 10 jersey, and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame later that year.+

Rodman experienced an unhappy childhood and was shy and introverted in his early years. After aborting a suicide attempt in 1993, he reinvented himself as a "bad boy" and became notorious for numerous controversial antics. He repeatedly dyed his hair in artificial colors, had many piercings and tattoos, and regularly disrupted games by clashing with opposing players and officials. He famously wore a wedding dress to promote his 1996 autobiography Bad As I Wanna Be. Rodman pursued a high-profile affair with singer Madonna and was briefly married to actress Carmen Electra.

Apart from basketball, Rodman is a retired part-time professional wrestler and actor. He was a member of the nWo and fought alongside Hulk Hogan at two Bash at the Beach events. He had his own TV show The Rodman World Tour, and had lead roles in the action films Double Team (1997) and Simon Sez (1999). Both films were critically panned, with the former earning Rodman a triple Razzie Award. He appeared in several reality TV series and was the winner of the $222,000 main prize of the 2004 edition of Celebrity Mole. Rodman won the first ever Celebrity Championship Wrestling tournament.


But as we stated earlier, Rodman was the product of an unstable household. Early in his life, his father, Philander, abandoned his wife, Shirley and his young family, which included Dennis and his two young sisters. There are so many different emotions revollving around a situation of this stature. Though we sometimes, as a society, numb our nerves to this topic because we feel it has grown common, we some times lose sight at just how tough it may have been for certain people who actually lived through one of these brutal upbringings...




After Philander left, Rodman's mother moved the family to Dallas where she struggled to keep her children fed and clothed by taking almost any odd job that came her way...As you can imagine it is tough for a child moving here and there especially when coming from a broken and battered family structure. It can be tougher to "fit in" and make new friends because there is a deep rooted question of trust...whether the person in question is aware of it or not. Curiously, Rodman didn't at first appear to be all that athletic or outgoing. You can definitely get a feel for where the "not outgoing" portion of his demeanor came from...though when we fast forward some may think that it is hard to imagine a character like Dennis Rodman shy and reserved...but he was just that. He was short for most of high school, just 5'6", and was cut from his high school football team and later quit the basketball team because he wasn't getting enough playing time. Clearly, looking at this from a stereotypical point of view you get the sense that it was easy for him to slip into the introverted shell and close more and more people out...especially if he worked up the courage to try out for these sporting teams but eventually found himself cut or benched...It hurts a growing child's self esteem and confidence...




After graduating high school in 1979, Rodman's future appeared uncertain. He found work where he could, including a janitor position at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport. In his off-time, though, he could be found at local basketball courts, where the now 6'7" player, was a force. It's pretty amazing what a little gravity can do to one's confidence! Through a family friend, Rodman's exploits soon caught the attention of the coaches at Cooke County Junior College in Gainesville, Texas, who offered Rodman the chance to attend the school. He accepted and to nobody's surprise, proved to be a dominant player for the program.

But Rodman couldn't keep up with the schoolwork and after a year, flunked out. Still, his play hadn't gone unnoticed, and he was soon invited to enroll at Southeastern Oklahoma State. There comes a time when one must put himself up against the wall and start to ask one's self some it time to stand up? Or stay seated? Well, as we know...Dennis took a stand...




Rodman's on-the-court tenacity overwhelmed opponents, and during his three years at the school he averaged close to 26 points and 16 rebounds per game. In the 1986 NBA draft, the Detroit Pistons made the gangly but overly athletic 25-year-old Rodman a second round pick. One can only imagine the flood of emotion when he lay his head on his pillow back in 1986...knowing that he had overcome such adversity and found the courage within himself to rise up out of the gathered rubble and start a career that would eventually land him in the Hall of Fame! Who knew...From scattered introvert to Hall of Fame acceptance speech, and spo much in between. We salute you Dennis...



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