Dennis Rodman is one of the best NBA players of all time. A multiple time champion, he is well deserving of his spot in the NBA Hall of Fame. But no matter how active he was on the court, he was every bit as active off it as well.
Below you’ll find 15 things that you didn’t know about Dennis Rodman, and let’s just say most of them don’t have to deal with him dribbling the basketball.
Rodman also has a close friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, and has enough partying and lifestyle stories to make your head spin. Rodman also didn’t keep his athleticism confined to the basketball court, and long-term wrestling fans may remember him for his short-lived time in the nWo back in the late ’90s.
Love basketball? You’ll get a kick out of this list, but even if you don’t, get ready to learn about one of the most interesting and polarizing celebrities of all time. Rodman was always seeking out the headlines and as you’ll learn, that definitely was not always for positive reasons.
15. His Intimate Life With Madonna
Dennis Rodman, despite his eccentric looks, has had the chance to be with some of the most beautiful women in the world. One of them is the world-famous and talented Madonna, who back in 1994 announced during the NBA All-Star Game that she wanted to meet Rodman.
Rodman was clearly charismatic and in his autobiography he admitted that he was able to take Madonna back to bed the same night he met her. That wasn’t all Rodman shared about his sex life. Rodman said it wasn’t “wild, crazy and kinky. It was just very entertaining. She wasn’t an acrobat, but she wasn’t a dead fish either.”
Not graphic enough yet? Rodman also admitted that Madonna refused to let him use a condom and was allegedly obsessed with the possibility of getting to father his children.
While their relationship may have seemed purely sexual, Rodman also said that he and Madonna felt like they were soul mates, but that the decision to get serious with Madonna was more than he could handle.
14. He Was Suicidal And Craig Sager Saved Him
Craig Sager is one of the most beloved reporters in NBA history. He’s been covering the game for decades, and his battle with cancer has been inspirational. There is no shortage of lives that Sager has impacted, but one that he definitely knows he had a huge hand in, is the life of Dennis Rodman.
Rodman was highly depressed in 1993 (while at the peak of his career). He had disappeared and people had fears that he may have committed suicide. It was Craig Sager that found Rodman, who was on the 2nd floor of a strip club.
Sager said that Rodman had the gun in his hand, but that he was able to convince him how stupid it would have been to use it. Rodman talked about the experience in his autobiography, writing “From the outside I had everything I could want. From the inside, I had nothing but an empty soul and a gun in my lap.”
13. He Claims He Is The Oldest Of 46 Siblings
You can imagine with someone who is as unique as Rodman, that he may have had an upbringing that was less than traditional. Rodman grew up in the low-economic area of the Oak Hill projects in Dallas. His father left Rodman when he was only 5 years old, leaving his mother to raise Rodman and his two sisters.
But just because Rodman only has two sisters that he grew up with, don’t let that fool you into thinking he only has those siblings. When Rodman was announced in the NBA Hall of Fame, he said that he had 46 brothers and sisters. His father attempted to defend himself, saying that he has 29 kids, not 47.
Rodman grew up feeling overshadowed by his two sisters, who ironically, were both considerably more talented at basketball. When Rodman graduated high school he was only 5’11 and had only played one year of high school basketball. Considering he played in the NBA at 6’7, you can understand that he had one heck of a growth spurt in his late teens.
Rodman has admitted on several occasions in the past that if he was not in the NBA, he would either have been in jail or dead.
When he was drafted into the NBA, he was asked who he was, causing Rodman to reply “I’m nobody, straight out of nowhere.” But there is no doubt that everyone knew who he was by the time he was done in the NBA.
12. His Thoughts On Black Players
Rodman has been very open in the past about his stance on black and white NBA players, once saying “A black player knows he can take the white guy whenever he needs to.” Rodman said this was because black people treat the game of basketball as war, whereas white players just don’t view the game in such an important light.
Rodman also publicly attacked Larry Bird in the past, saying that he got so much media attention because he was white and that he was an overrated basketball player. This became a huge media story when his teammate Isaiah Thomas was asked if he agreed with Rodman, which he did, replying “Larry Bird is a very, very good basketball player, but if he was black he’d be just another guy.”
Thomas quickly came under fire, and later called it one of the worst days of his life. He claimed he meant no ill will towards Bird and that perhaps there was a joking tone that was lost in translation.
Rodman has not apologized for his thoughts on black vs white players, but he did issue a public apology over the Bird incident saying “I would like to apologize to Larry Bird for the emotional comments I made last week regarding his three-time winning of the NBA M.V.P. awards. Coming off a very emotional loss, I was very frustrated at the time. I was wrong, and honestly that is not the way I feel. It was a mistake on my behalf.”
11. He Thinks Lebron James Would Be An Average Player
If there is anyone out there who knows just how dominant Michael Jordan could be on a basketball court, it’s Dennis Rodman. Rodman played alongside MJ for several years, including winning several championships with Jordan. So you can imagine he must get pretty tired of comparisons between MJ and LeBron as to who is the greatest of all time, especially when Rodman holds a negative stance towards LeBron.
When talking about it to Dan Patrick, Rodman said “It’s really not a comparison. If LeBron was playing in the late ’80s and early ’90s, he would be just an average player, to do what Michael has done … what he did was more charisma, there was more articulating and stuff like that. LeBron is more like … there’s no flash to his game.”
Rodman went on to compliment parts of LeBron’s game, but praised Jordan for playing in a tougher era of basketball, saying “Back then you could hit people, knock him down, shoot a free throw and get back up, and LeBron can’t do that. All they do today is (complain) about a foul. All they do is (complain).”
10. His Wrestling Career
In 1997 Dennis Rodman was suspended from the NBA and decided why not take up another one of his favourite hobbies, professional wrestling. It was in March that he first appeared on Monday Nitro alongside Hollywood Hulk Hogan. The two even teamed up at Bash at the Beach in July but lost to Lex Luger and The Giant.
Rodman also got to dress up as the Imposter Sting and interfered with a match that allowed Hogan to win the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.
Rodman wasn’t done in the ring, and after the next NBA season, he had a match against Karl Malone, the superstar from the Utah Jazz. The two had an on-court rivalry that culminated that year when Rodman defeated Malone in the NBA Finals. The match was a disaster and also included DDP teaming with Malone and Hogan teaming with Rodman. Perhaps because it lasted 23 minutes, yikes. If you care, Rodman ended up winning the match.
9. His Friendship With Kim Jong-Un
One of the more unique things about Dennis Rodman is his friendship with the North Korean leader, Kim Jung-Un. Rodman met the leader back in 2013 when he had traveled there to host basketball exhibitions. At the time, he and his entourage were literally the first Americans to have met Kim.
When asked about it, Rodman expressed that Kim was “a friend for life” and urged Obama to “pick up the phone and call Kim since the two leaders were basketball fans.”
Rodman’s friendship became a lot more public when he tweeted out to Kim to release Kenneth Bae, who was an American prisoner that had a 15-year sentence of hard labor.
On January 7th, 2014, Rodman implied that Bae was at fault for his imprisonment but later apologized, saying that he had been drinking at the time of his comments. Nevertheless, Bae did end up receiving an early release and personally thanked Rodman for helping raise awareness to his case.
8. His Two Criminal Investigations (One Federal!)
Well to be fair, if you’re going to go ahead and become friends for life with Kim Jung-Un, you definitely are going to raise some eyebrows around the Federal government. Rodman was being investigated because he may have violated a federal law that prohibits importing luxury goods into North Korea.
It was reported that Rodman brought several gifts into North Korea for Kim’s 31st birthday. These gifts included an Italian suit, European crystal, a fur coat, several bottles of “Bad Ass Vodka” (Rodman’s own brand) and an English Mulberry handbag for Kim’s wife.
Rodman also got into trouble in July after he was named as a person of interest in a hit-and-run. Police responded to a call about a smashed BMW on the 1-5 Freeway and while Rodman was not there, one witness said the other car present was being driven by Rodman. To make matters all the more complicated, another witness reported that Rodman was seen prior that night drunk and singing karaoke at a nearby bar. A video of him singing later made its way to YouTube.
7. His Bedroom Life Before And During His NBA Career
Above you heard about Rodman and his frequent lays with Madonna, but that was far from the only woman that Rodman had taken to bed. Among the high-profile relationships, Rodman talked about the various groupies who would follow the basketball team around in hopes of sleeping with the players. This was a huge turnaround for Rodman, who in the book admitted that he lost his virginity when he was 20 years old; and only after his friends paid a prostitute $20 to do him and his friends.
One of the women that Rodman frequently took to bed was a cheerleader for the Atlanta Hawks, who ended up suing Rodman claiming that he had transmitted herpes. Rodman won the case, but it cost him $225,000 in legal fees.
There was also a story reported in 2010 in which Rodman met up with 6 ladies when he was out doing promotional work at a party and then took them back to a room at the party. Seems like a smooth move until you learn that he still had his mic hooked up to the speakers of the club and was broadcasting the whole experience!
6. His Wedding Dress Stunt
Dennis Rodman was no stranger to hitting the headlines for unusual ways or his different relationships with prominent women, but after he ended his relationship with Madonna, Rodman stepped out in public sporting a wedding dress. As you can imagine, this caused many people to ask some questions, leading Rodman to answer that he was announcing himself as being officially bisexual and that he was going to get married to himself.
This was also done to help raise some attention for his autobiography Bad As I Wanna Be. The book was written by Rodman during the 1995-1996 NBA season, but to be honest, if Rodman was going to try and sell the book all he would have had to do was tell people that he was going to openly talk about his sex life with Madonna!
5. His 9 Day Marriage To Carmen Electra
Dennis Rodman may have taken Madonna to the bed, but he was also able to put a ring around the finger of Playboy model Carmen Electra. The two got married in 1998, but their marriage only lasted 9 days before Rodman filed for an annulment. When talking about the experience, Electra said “It’s easy to get caught up in a moment. You think it’s romantic, but then you realize, God, we did it in Vegas? It’s like getting a cheeseburger at a fast-food restaurant.”
5 years later when Electra was asked about the marriage again, she mentioned how the marriage came on the heels of her losing both her older sister and mother that August (they were married in November). Electra elaborated to Glamour magazine, saying “I was just going through the motions. I was completely numb. At the time, I was dating Dennis Rodman. He was such a fun person to be around, and we went out every night. I remember thinking, this is my out. I’m just going to have fun, and I’m not going to worry about anything…. I’d lost my mom and my sister; I didn’t want to lose anyone else.”
Prior to getting married to Electra, Rodman was married to Annie Bakes for a few years and the two had one child together (a daughter, Alexis).
After Electra, Rodman got married to Michelle Moyer after being together for 4 years and the two have two children together (one daughter and one son). Sadly, the two are no longer together and it was also reported that Rodman at one point owed $860,376 in child and spousal support.
4. His Reality Show Appearances
Dennis Rodman is definitely an outstanding basketball player, but you may also notice him for his appearances on several different reality shows. Rodman has appeared on the UK versions of Celebrity Big Brother, as well as the series Love Island. Rodman also appeared on the American reality show Celebrity Mole and ended up winning the grand prize of $222,000.
Rodman also won the reality show Hulk Hogan’s Celebrity Championship Wrestling. To truly show his versatility, Rodman also appeared on the show Celebrity Apprentice in 2009. Rodman was also giving the opportunity to host his own television show, appropriately named The Rodman World Tour. The show aired during the 1996 season and followed Rodman who would occasionally interview his guests from his bed. At least you can imagine he was cozy, and if he had a female guest on the show, maybe that’s just one less step to trying to be able to woo her over?
3. He’s Broken His “Rod” Three Separate Times
You’ll be happy to learn that this is information that Rodman literally just decided to share with the world. It was on August 9th when Rodman sat down with Viceland and talked (in far more detail than we will) about the three separate times in which he had a broken “area.”
The first occurred when Rodman thought it would be a smart idea to run and jump at his loving partner, but the only end result of that was a lot of blood. To make things more complicated, they were on a boat! Let’s hope they had a doctor on board.
Rodman had another stroke of bad luck when another partner was engaging in an activity inspired by a book that Rodman said was called How To Suck D**k In 10 Different Ways. The incident inspired Rodman to claim it looked like a “big f*cked up carrot.”
You think that would be enough to teach him his lesson, but the third time he was engaging in some love making when he experienced a 3rd and final crack. Cue blood everywhere and another trip to the emergency room. After seeing several doctors, Rodman was told that he had a contused penis.
The following day his girlfriend received a phone call from one of the nurses who threatened to release the photos if she was not paid $25,000. As you can imagine, that was hardly a concern to Rodman who did not give into the demand.
2. His NBA Accomplishments
No matter how interesting of a person Dennis Rodman is, you’re not going to be able to complete this list without at least mentioning his fantastic NBA career and all of the things he accomplished. First off, he took home 5 NBA Championships including 3 in a row. Rodman was also a tenacious defender and earned the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1990 and 1991.
Rodman holds several NBA records, perhaps the most impressive being the fact that he led the league in rebounding for seven straight seasons. Rodman also has the highest career rebounds per game, with an insane average of 13 boards a game.
He is also the only player since 1973 to record 1,500 rebounds in a single season and is one of only 6 players to ever average multiple seasons of 18 rebounds a game.
He has also had more 20 and 15 rebound games than anyone in NBA history, with 167 and 410 respectfully. All of this made him a fantastic candidate for the NBA Hall of Fame, where he was inducted in 2011.
1. His Awful Acting Career
Dennis Rodman may be one heck of an interesting character, but that definitely does not mean he’s got what it takes to be a talented actor. In fact, when he appeared in the 1997 movie Double Team with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Mickey Rourke, he was nominated for three Golden Raspberry Awards (Worst New Star, Worst Supporting Actor and Worst Screen Couple). Granted, the tagline to the movie was literally “They don’t play by the rules” so honestly, what were you really expecting?
Rourke also appeared in the movies Simon Sez and Cutaway and while neither were notable, he at least didn’t offend anyone enough to be nominated for those awards.
Rodman was also on the television show Special Ops Force, 3rd Rock From The Sun and even got to voice an animated version of himself on The Simpsons.