Dennis Rodman is one of the NBA’s greatest players of all time – often known for his extraordinary defensive performances. However, Rodman was notorious for his acts off the court as well and was often a center of attention for the media. Since Rodman’s rise to fame, his life has been highly controversial and unusual — from dyeing his hair outrageous patterns to wild nights in Las Vegas. Keep scrolling to find out a bit more about him…
Dennis Rodman was born to Shirley and Philander Rodman Jr., an enlisted member of the Air Force who would later fight in the Vietnam War. Shirley gave birth to her son on May 13th, 1961 in Trenton, New Jersey.
When he was very young, Rodman’s father left and settled in the Philippines, leaving his mom to take care of the family by herself. Shirley took up many odd jobs to support herself and the kids, even having up to four jobs at the same time.
Timid in His Early Days
Rodman surprisingly stated that during his early days, he was very shy and introverted. He grew up in an all-female household, with his mother and his two sisters — Debra and Kim — in Oak Cliff, Dallas. He began cross-dressing as a child and was particularly attached to his mother.
However, his mother was more interested in his two sisters, who showed more promise in basketball than him. Both Debra and Kim eventually turned out to be successful basketball players – becoming All-Americans at Louisiana Tech and Stephen F. Austin respectively.
Rejection from Sports
Rodman’s shy and timid demeanor as a child did not help in his athletic career in his early life. Whilst attending South Oak Cliff High School, he would always be benched or cut from the squads during basketball games.
When Rodman graduated from high school, he was only 5-feet 6-inches in height. Although he tried out for the high school football team, Rodman ultimately failed to make the cut there, too. He would later describe that he was “totally devastated” by all the constant rejection around him.
The Beginning of the End
Right after graduating high school, Rodman got himself a job at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport as a janitor. Still, he wouldn’t last long there. After being accused of stealing watches from the airport store, Rodman landed himself one night in jail. To add fuel to the fire, his mother kicked him out of her house soon after.
Rodman often bounced between jobs and lived in different places — on the streets, at friends’ houses, or even once in the back of a 7-11. He would walk around aimlessly, having no direction in life. He called it “the beginning of the end.”
Although Rodman wasn’t very tall when he initially left high school, he did end up having a massive growth spurt right around the time he began college — growing a whole foot taller. That’s when he decided to give basketball a shot once more. He spent a single semester studying at Cooke County College but flunked out due to his academic performance.
He then transferred to Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he went on to play for three seasons, becoming a three-time NAIA All-American. During these three seasons — from 1983 to 1986 — Rodman averaged 25.7 points and 15.7 rebounds.
As stated before, Rodman had been shy and introverted during his early years. Although he initially lacked friends, Rodman ended up creating a very close bond during the summer at a youth basketball camp where he worked during college. It was there that he met Bryne Rich, another shy and withdrawn kid.
The two soon became inseparable, and Rich invited Rodman to his Oklahoma home. Rodman was initially not well-received by Bryne’s family due to his color, but they soon set aside their prejudices when they saw their son’s bond with Rodman.
Rodman’s college career caught the interest of several basketball teams, including the Detroit Pistons. When he made himself eligible in the 1986 NBA draft, he was picked by the Detroit Pistons in the second round.
The Detroit Pistons were a rugged group of guys that happened to be nicknamed the “Bad Boys” — and Rodman fit in with the team perfectly. With Rodman, the Pistons made it to the 1987 Playoffs, where they were knocked out by the Boston Celtics.
On Larry Bird
The matches with Boston’s Celtics may have been the climax of the Pistons’ journey in the Playoffs, but it definitely didn’t end peacefully. During the games, Rodman often feuded with the Celtics guard Dennis Johnson, and Johnson retaliated as well.
His moment of highlight came, however, after the loss when he commented that Celtics star Larry Bird was overrated because he was white. Rodman made headlines for his comments and even faced harsh criticism from his teammates as well.
It was during his time playing for the Pistons that Rodman met and began dating Annie Bakes, who would eventually become his first wife. Rodman and Bakes met in a club in 1987 and dated for about five years before eventually deciding to marry.
However, the marriage didn’t last long. Rodman married Annie in September of 1991 but by December 1992, the couple had separated before finalizing their divorce a year later. Rodman had his first daughter — Alexis — with Annie in 1988.
In the 1987-88 season, Rodman’s game improved even more – averaging 11.6 points and 8.7 rebounds. He started in 32 of the 82 season games, and the Pistons even made it to the 1988 NBA Finals.
During Game Seven of the finals, Rodman fouled Magic Johnson, who hit a free throw and missed a crucial shot with 39 seconds left – allowing L.A. Lakers to win the game. Rodman remained largely benched during the 1988-89 season, averaging only 9.0 points and 9.4 rebounds. However, he was still voted into the All-Defensive Team.
Filling Mahorn’s Shoes
Things changed for Dennis Rodman when the Detroit Pistons defensive forward Rick Mahorn was taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves — and then the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1989-90 season. Rodman took over Mahorn’s role, and despite the team’s apprehensions, he fit in seamlessly.
In the last 43 season games, Rodman averaged 8.8 points and 9.7 rebounds, winning the best NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. In the 1990 Finals, Rodman suffered an injured ankle and was replaced by Mark Aguirre, but Detroit still managed to claim the title.
Starting Small Forward
Even after his injury, Rodman did not give up. He soon made himself known as the starting small forward for the Pistons. He started in 77 of the 82 season games, and won another Defensive Player of the Year Award.
The 1991-92 season went exceptionally well for the rising star, averaging 9.8 points per game and a stunning 18.7 rebounds. He had a total of 1530 rebounds to his name, which is the highest since Wilt Chamberlain’s 1572 rebounds during the 1971-72 season.
The Loss of Chuck Daly
Things may have seemed perfect for Rodman on the surface, but it was not the case. It was also during this time that Rodman struggled with many issues internally. The coach of the Pistons, Chuck Daly, resigned in May – whom Rodman viewed as a surrogate father.
He skipped the preseason camp and accumulated a fine of $68,000. More so – the basketball player’s marriage with Annie Bakes, with whom he had his first child, was collapsing and they divorced in 1992. He was left completely traumatized and heartbroken.
A Dark Place
It was also during this time that Rodman found himself in yet another very dark place in his life. In February 1993, Rodman was found asleep with a weapon in his car. He later admitted that he struggled with morbid thoughts during this time, and described that particular night in the car as an epiphany.
According to him, it was that night in which he decided that instead of taking his own life, he would rather get rid of the “imposter” that was leading a life for him.
Meeting Craig Sager
During this dark place, he found a friend in Craig Sager, who Rodman credits with saving his life. Craig Sager was a sideline reporter and apparently had a heart-to-heart talk with Rodman after tracking the athlete down at a club.
After Sager’s passing in 2016, Rodman thanked him for saving his life when he was “in dire need of help.”
In 1993, Rodman switched teams. The Detroit Pistons handed him over to the San Antonio Spurs, which was built around several stars such as David Robinson, Dale Ellis, Willie Anderson, and Vinny Del Negro. Rodman played the role of a power forward and won his third straight rebounding title.
He also began to change himself – ridding himself of the “imposter” that he once described. He went through several new looks — first shaving his hair, then dyeing it blonde — before red, purple, blue, and basically any color under the sun. He also headbutted Stacey King and John Stockton, which made the headlines during that time.
Rodman certainly did not feel that his antics on the court was enough to make headlines. He was also involved in a short fling with legendary pop star Madonna — who was at the very peak of her career during that time. Rodman and Madonna were said to have a two-month-long fling during 1995, although the details are still largely unknown.
According to ESPN’s The Last Dance, Madonna thought Rodman was cute and Rodman learned to be his own man from Madonna’s quirky lifestyle.
Suspensions and Injuries
Rodman’s drastic change in persona made him a character that was hard to deal with both on and off the court. During the 1994-95 season, he had a clash with the Spurs front office causing him to get suspended from three games. He took a leave of absence on November 11th, and only returned to receive another suspension.
Soon after joining the team on December 10th, he suffered an injury in a motorcycle accident and lost many more games. His entire season consisted of only 49 games, however, it was enough for him to make it to the All-NBA team by grabbing 823 rebounds.
It was during his time in San Antonio Spurs that Dennis Rodman would meet another best friend of his — Jack Haley. Jack Haley was nowhere near as talented as Rodman, and was usually a rotational player in the squad. However, he was the only one who understood Rodman and saw him for who he was.
They first bonded when Rodman invited Haley and his wife on a double-date to a bar, and their bond only grew from there.
Playing With Michael Jordan
Before the 1995-96 seasons, the Spurs traded Rodman for Will Perdue to the Chicago Bulls, the same team where the legendary Michael Jordan played. Jack Haley was also traded to the Bulls which eased the transition for Rodman. Rodman wanted to start with the number 10 jersey for the Bulls, but it was retired – so he settled with number 91 instead.
Despite many fans and journalists considering the then 34-year-old Rodman to be a big gamble for the Bulls, he adapted quickly – with 5.5 points and 14.9 rebounds per game.
Headbutting the Referee
Rodman was pretty successful in playing for the Chicago Bulls, but he largely made the news due to reasons other than his talent. In January 1996, Rodman joined Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in the All-NBA Defense First Team. He soon made headlines again in March of 1996 for headbutting the match referee — Ted Bernhardt — during a game in New Jersey.
He then threw his jersey on the court and trashed a water cooler. His actions resulted in a fine of $20,000 as well as a suspension from six games.
Kicking the Camera Man
During the 1996-97 season, Rodman failed to make another All-Defensive Team call-up but still won his sixth rebounding title with 16.7 rebounds per game. However, his antics continued. On January 15th, 1997 — during a game against the Minnesota Timberwolves — he kicked cameraman Eugene Amos in the groin after failing to grab a rebound late into the third quarter.
Amos had to leave the court on a stretcher. Rodman and Amos agreed to an out-of-court settlement of $200,000 and the league suspended him for 11 games.
Yes, you read that right — Dennis Rodman married himself! It doesn’t get much crazier than that (it actually does, though)! In 1996, Rodman wrote his memoir Bad as I Wanna Be, and set out to promote it. Inspired by an idea from the radio jockey Howard Stern, Rodman appeared in a wedding dress and married himself.
His publicity stunt turned out to be worth it, though, as Bad as I Wanna Be topped the New York Times bestseller list for more than 20 weeks.
In 1996, rumors began to float around the media industry that the NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman and the American singer-songwriter Toni Braxton were dating. The rumors gained momentum when Rodman and Braxton were spotted together at the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards.
However, the rumors of the relationship were never confirmed. In fact, according to ESPN’s The Last Dance, Toni recently dismissed all rumors that the two of them ever even dated.
The Bulls Win a Third Title
No matter how crazy his off-court antics got, Rodman was still performing extremely well in the NBA. He missed three games due to suspensions and another 13 due to an injury, so the 1997 playoffs did not get to see much of his spectacular defense.
Still, he made up for it in the 1997-98 season — winning 15 rebounds and 4.7 points per game. This extraordinary performance secured Rodman’s seventh consecutive rebounding title and helped Chicago Bulls win their third title in a row.
Wrestling With Hulk Hogan
You’d be wrong to assume everything went smoothly for the Bulls during the 1998 NBA finals. Out of the blue, Dennis Rodman decided to be a professional wrestler in 1997 and signed up for WCW — the rival of WWE at that time. He joined the NOW, a staple in wrestling that was led by the amazing Hulk Hogan.
Rodman was so obsessed with wrestling at one point that he actually left Chicago Bulls during the 1998 finals to wrestle with Hulk Hogan. This rash decision cost him $20,000 but he ended up earning much more from the wrestling match itself.
Unlike Rodman and Braxton’s relationship, this one actually resulted in marriage and it gained a huge amount of publicity. Rodman began dating model and actress Carmen Electra, and it turns out their relationship was largely based on Las Vegas, partying, and physical desire.
They lived an undisciplined life — and at one point — even the legendary Michael Jordan himself showed up to Rodman and Electra’s hotel room to break them apart to bring his teammate home. Rodman married Electra in November 1998 in Las Vegas, and they divorced soon after in March 1999.
At the end of 1997-98 season, the then-general manager Jerry Krause began rebuilding the Chicago Bulls from scratch — causing several members to leave. This included the head coach Phil Jackson and players like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
Rodman was released from the Bulls in 1999, and he joined the Los Angeles Lakers. He only played for the California team for 23 games, before moving to the Dallas Mavericks — returning to the very place where he grew up. He played a total of only 12 games, and was largely unmotivated and erratic.
Living With Mark Cuban
Although his time in Dallas Mavericks wasn’t perfectly noteworthy, that didn’t mean he wasn’t having the time of his life. In fact, the owner of the Mavericks, Mark Cuban, was a big fan of Rodman’s abilities. As a result, Rodman received special treatment from the owner.
He didn’t stay with the other players but rather lived with Cuban himself — in his guest house. Although Rodman was not exactly a big fan of Cuban, Cuban revered him and he credits Rodman in teaching him how to gain media attention.
With his basketball career fading, Rodman decided to try out other interests, namely film and wrestling. In 1996, Rodman had his own MTV talk show called The Rodman World Tour. A year later, he acted in an action film called Double Team alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mickey Rourke.
His performance earned him three hilarious Golden Raspberry Awards — Worst New Star, Worst Supporting Actor, and Worst Screen Couple. He also appeared in several other films afterward, including Simon Sez and Cutaway.
The World of Wrestling
After the demise from his NBA career, Dennis Rodman took up wrestling seriously instead. His first match was in the July 1997 Bash at the Beach event where he joined Hulk Hogan, and lost to Lex Luger as well as The Giant. After the 1997-98 season, Rodman fought Karl Malone — another NBA player — at another Bash at the Beach event alongside Hulk Hogan.
This time Hogan and Rodman picked up the win. In 1999, Rodman returned to WCW in a match against Randy Savage and lost.
Of all of Dennis Rodman’s juicy relationships, this one with Michelle Moyer is the one that lasted the longest. As of today, Michelle Moyer remains the last wife of Dennis Rodman. They met in a bar in 1999, and things sparked between them pretty quickly. The two married in 2003, on his 42nd birthday.
However, following the pattern of his previous marriages, this one also failed. Moyer filed for divorce in 2004, but it was not finalized until 2012. She is the mother of two of his children — Dennis Jr. and Trinity.
Controversial Media Appearances
Rodman not only appeared in poorly acclaimed films but also his own TV shows. 2005 was a wild year for him. He participated in a number of different projects that were often found as controversial. Rodman posed naked for PETA’s advertisement Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur.
He also traveled to Finland to participate in a wife-carrying contest the same year but resigned due to health problems. He even created yet another publicity stunt when he promoted his second book I Should Be Dead By Now by sitting in a coffin. That same year, Rodman became the commissioner of the Lingerie Football League.
Visit to North Korea
Rodman has led a very unusual lifestyle, and one of its most outstanding highlights is his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. The two met in February 2013, when Rodman traveled to North Korea for the first time — with Vice Media correspondent Ryan Duffy — to host basketball exhibition matches.
Since that initial trip, Rodman and Kim have been spotted together several times. The infamous athlete even called Kim a “friend for life.”
This was not Rodman’s only visit to North Korea. Rodman returned there in 2017 in an attempt to promote sports. During his visit, Rodman met many North Korean Olympic level players and presented several gifts to Kim Jong-un via the nation’s Minister of Sports — including two signed basketball jerseys.
Rodman showed up in North Korea in 2018 once more, as a part of the 2018 North Korea-United States summit. A strange friendship to say the least!
Rodman had suffered from substance abuse throughout his entire life, and this was also one of the reasons his last wife filed for divorce. According to his financial advisor, Peggy Williams, this was also the reason he was unable to work and was claiming to be broke.
Rodman entered a rehab center in 2008. By 2009, the struggling star received an intervention from his family members, as well as former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson. However, it was to no avail, as he went in and out of rehab throughout the following years.
Crashing Pearl Jam
Rodman has always been deeply into music, and is especially a fan of Pearl Jam. At a concert in Dallas — during the band’s tour — Rodman stepped onto the stage without a shirt and caused massive havoc during the program.
He sang along to the band’s performances of “Corduroy” and “Alive,” but his mic was cut off during the second song. Needless to say, Pearl Jam was far from pleased with this kind of predictable stunt that Dennis Rodman pulled with them.
Trouble With the Law
Rodman had gotten into trouble with the law many a-times throughout his career and afterward, as well. Not only was he involved in a hit-and-run in 2016 but he also landed himself in jail again a couple of years later. Aside from that, Rodman has also been charged a number of times with alleged cases of harassment.
During his career, Rodman and Carmen Electra were charged with assault. He admitted to the comedian Kevin Hart that he had been to jail over 100 times.
Life in Retirement
Despite his outstanding success and crazy lifestyle through much of the ’90s, Dennis Rodman now remains largely forgotten. According to news sources, he spends his days in clubs or at Starbucks and sleeps most of the time.
A woman named Trish Alexander provides him with companionship and claims to be his girlfriend. She sued Voice Media Group when they portrayed her as “aimless and shiftless.” However, whether those claims are true are yet to be proven.
Appearance on The Last Dance
Despite the fact that Rodman caused quite a bit of controversy since his rise to fame, there’s no doubt that he was and is respected by many — especially his Chicago Bulls teammates — as one of the greatest NBA players of all time. The legend’s appearance on ESPN’s documentary, The Last Dance, only further proves that point.
Rodman left his team many-a-times to fulfill his own personal desires but there’s no denying that he was an unstoppable force the minute he stepped back onto the court and for that, even Michael Jordan embraced him without judgment.
Formula One had to revise its original 2021 race calendar because of various factors related to events around the world. The first race would normally start in Melbourne during early January, so the date for the Australian Grand Prix became a pressing issue when the year turned over. Formula 1 Management and the local authorities could not reach an agreement on a date due to the current events in Australia, so the race was postponed for November.
The Formula 1 Season Will Open in Bahrain on March 28th
With the Australian Grand Prix postponed, the start of the Formula 1 season was moved to March 28th, and the pre-season testing was scheduled to start in Bahrain, where the first race will also take place. Last year, F1 ran two races in Bahrain, as well as the Formula 2’s pre-season testing. The Spanish Grand Prix was also confirmed for a later date in the calendar.
Formula 1 and the Chinese organizers also could not come to an agreement for an April race, so the slot for that month went to the historic Imola circuit. In a statement, F1 said that the discussions with the authorities and promoters in China were ongoing, and the possibility for a race in the later season was still present. Still, with the only open slot being in May, that could end up being the final date for the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Final Nine Races Will Take Place in Just Eleven Weeks
Despite their promise to avoid having three races in a single month, Formula One has scheduled two such triple-headers almost back to back. The first three races will take place in three subsequent weeks respectively in Russia, Singapore, and Japan, with a two-week pause before the other three, which are scheduled to occur in the U.S., Mexico, and Brazil.
The busy schedule for the end of the season was also put in question when Brazilian news announced that Bruno Covas, the mayor of Sao Paulo, awarded the Grand Prix tender without going through the appropriate processes. Even though it is highly unlikely that another company would want to run such a specialized event, the process should have been done correctly through a public tender. Now, this line of events has place Interlagos under question as well, at least until the correct paperwork gets filed.