Who Is Dennis Rodman? Born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1961, Dennis Rodman was selected in the second round of the 1986 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. He became one of the league’s dominant rebounders, led the Pistons and later the Chicago Bulls to multiple championships before being inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2011.
Dennis Keith Rodman was born on May 13, 1961, in Trenton, New Jersey. Rodman was the product of an unstable household. Early in his life, his father, Philander, left his wife, Shirley, and his young family, including Rodman and his two young sisters. After Philander left, Rodman’s mother moved the family to Dallas, where she struggled to feed and dress her children by getting almost every job that came her way.
Oddly enough, Rodman didn’t seem as athletic or outward-looking at first. Shortly before most of high school, just 5 feet, 6 inches, he was cut off from the school football team and later quit the basketball team because he didn’t get enough playing time.
After graduating from high school in 1979, Rodman’s future seemed uncertain. He found work where he could, including a concierge position at dallas-fort worth airport. In his spare time, however, he was found on local basketball courts, where the now 6-foot, 7-inch player was a force.
Through a family friend, Rodman’s exploits quickly 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 proved to be a dominant player for the program. Rodman, however, was unable to keep up with school work, and after a year he dropped out.
Still, Rodman’s game had not gone unnoticed and was soon invited to enroll in the state of Southeastern Oklahoma. His tenacity on the field overwhelmed his opponents, and during his three years at the school, he averaged nearly 26 points and 16 rebounds per game. In the 1986 NBA draw, the Detroit Pistons made the athletic and lanky 25-year-old Rodman a second-round pick.
The marriage between the Pistons and Rodman was a great marriage for a number of years. Rodman’s arrival helped usher in a new era in Pistons basketball. Led by head coach Chuck Daly, who Rodman loved, and point guard Isiah Thomas, Detroit became one of the elite teams in the NBA. The club won the championship in 1989 and again in 1990.
Rodman was a big reason why. Rodman, a fierce defender and a tenacious rebounder, was selected for the 1990 NBA All-Star team and was tapped that same season as defensive player of the year. In 1992, he won the first of seven consecutive rebounding crowns.
In 1993, after Daly retired, Rodman’s relationship with the Pistons organization weakened and he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs. Prior to the 1995-96 season, Rodman was traded again, this time to the Chicago Bulls, where he would team up with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to win three consecutive NBA titles.
After his tenure in Chicago, Rodman signed for a brief stint with the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 1999 season. The following year, he ended his playing career with the Dallas Mavericks.
In total, Rodman would end up with five NBA championships, two All-Star appearances and twice being named the league’s best defensive player. He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2011.
A restless life
For all his success, however, the problems were never that far removed from Rodman’s life. The same intensity that Rodman brought to court has sometimes called into question his non-basketball moments. In February 1993, Rodman was found asleep in a truck in a parking lot with a loaded gun, causing him to worry that Rodman was suicidal. He denied that this was the case.
Still, the feeling that Rodman was unstable was something that he seemed to embrace as part of his persona on the field. He earned hefty fines for his physical play and in 1997 paid a cameraman $200,000 to pay the costs Rodman intentionally kicked him in the groin while chasing a loose ball. He regularly dyed his hair and loved presenting his off-court romances with celebrities like Madonna and Carmen Electra.
Rodman’s life proved no less turbulent after he retired. In April 2008, he was arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly punching his wife in a hotel at the time. Rodman did not plead for a match and a judge ordered him to complete 45 days of community service.
In June 2010, it was announced that Rodman owed more than $300,000 in child benefit.
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