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What you saw of Dennis Rodman at the Hall was the real him

Aug 16, 2011, 3:48 PM EDT

Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony - Red Carpet Getty Images

If you read just one thing today — other than PBT, because by definition you are already reading that — I suggest you set aside some time for Yahoo’s Michael Silver’s recounting of Dennis Rodman’s Hall of Fame enduction night.

The story starts after 3 a.m. in a strip club surrounded by Patron shots and Cuban cigars. As it should. Steve Kerr jokingly asked if they had a game tomorrow, they were partying like it was 1996 again.

But this portrait of Rodman, filled with interesting details —  he didn’t have a drink until he was 30 — is far more complex. Silver knows Rodman better than any journalist (he co-wrote “Walk on the Wild Side” with Rodman) and he gives an honest assessment that doesn’t fit in the preconceived mold.

Yes, there was some truth to the caricature: Rodman was, in fact, an attention-seeking self-promoter who understood the direct correlation between notoriety and moneymaking possibilities. He did (and does) love to drink and gamble and stay up all night, and he had no compulsion to put up resistance to the legions of hot and unencumbered women in constant orbit around him.

The real Rodman, however, was far more complex and uncontrived than commonly portrayed. There was a point to the reckless hedonism, and it wasn’t to cash in or to bathe in fame. Rather, it was a desire to poke at the conventions of what he believed was a boring, bloated and restrictive American culture, to honor the public-theater antics of ’60s counterculture cavorters like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Ken Kesey and, most important, to wear his weirdness with pride.

Read the story and the speech Rodman gave came off as very real — emotional, profane, funny, dark, complicated. Not a caricature but a heartfelt person with a lot of issues.

Go read the whole post, but I will pass along one more tidbit, my favorite note from a fantastic column.

“You know that classic (Sports Illustrated) shot where Dennis is completely sprawled out?” Kerr asked. “Well, that was off one of my missed shots, and Dennis was trying to save the possession. Everyone saw that and said, ‘Wow, what an incredible dive!’ I said, ‘Wow, what an awful shot! I really had to miss that one badly for the ball to bounce that far.”

Rodman laughed so hard, his cowboy hat nearly fell off.

  1. philliphernandez - Aug 17, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    Dennis was weird, but nothing but hospitable when we would visit his bar in Newport Beach back in 2000-02. He was typically around the bar till closing time at 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays and would buy your group a round of shots on him if you were celebrating a birthday or especially if there was a bachelorette party in the house. I’m happy that he made it into the Basketball Hall of Fame, he was a hell of a player and a good guy. Weird guy but good guy.

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