The eccentric life of Dennis Rodman

I have always wondered what type of upbringing Dennis Keith Rodman had before he became known as “The Real Hot Rod” with a look reminiscent of some freaky cartoon character. I’m aware that he has a distinct love for women of the Caucasian race but I didn’t know too much else besides what the media portrayed. I decided to dig a little deeper.

The retired American Hall of Fame professional basketball player of the National Basketball Association‘s (NBA) Detroit PistonsSan Antonio SpursChicago BullsLos Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks‘ upbringing consisted of 2 sisters and his mother. His father an Air Force Pilot left the family when Rodney was still very young leaving his mother to carry the weight of the family all by herself. Rodman recalls the experience in his 1997 biography Bad As I Wanna Be, and expressed his disgust and hate for his father:

“I haven’t seen my father in more than 30 years, so what’s there to miss … I just look at it like this: Some man brought me into this world. That doesn’t mean I have a father.” 

According to Rodman, he had a very unhappy childhood partly due to the way his mother treated him. He recalls how his mother favored his two sisters over him amidst growing up in poverty.

SIDENOTE: This part of his story touched me. I hate when fathers leave the family and forget all about their children. This selfish act has a way of eating at a child’s heart and the way a child views him/herself. Kids need both male and female role models growing up.

These role models can be in the form of parents, aunts, uncles, etc. Whoever they turn out to be, they’re important. Also as a mother myself, I can’t imagine favoring one child over the other. Even if I felt one of my children was better than the other(s) I would not show it.

Not only was favoring his sisters a thorn in his flesh, his sisters too were fond of making fun of his looks and his initial inability to play basketball. Rodman was actually very short for the most part of his childhood. He recounts how he was tired of living in an all female household and being the odd one out.

SIDENOTE: I can understand how he felt living in an all female household. His sisters and mother probably had a lot to talk about all the time. It probably seemed like they had all the fun in the house while he had to sit quietly and watch them ignore the only man in the house.

I think it’s important for parents (single or otherwise) to engage their children in activities outside of school. If you have a family dynamic similar to the one Rodman described, it’s best to let your child have a friend of the same gender who s/he can relate to. Even a cousin or family member of the same gender and age would make all the difference in the world.

I’m also starting to see how the events Dennis described had an impact on his overall persona. The early years in a child’s life are extremely important. The events and things that occur during that time can either make or break them. They define who we grow up to be.

When Rodman experienced his growth spurt (which occurred after high school), he became even more withdrawn because he felt odd in his own body. He recalls being so insecure around women that he thought he was homosexual in his teens. He lost his virginity when he was 20 years old and had his first sexual experience with a prostitute; he described this as an unpleasant experience.

SIDENOTE: Most of us recall ‘our very first time’ as being special, exciting and what not. Dennis recalls his first time with a prostitute! Are you starting to get a clearer picture of why he is the way he is? This man apparently had never experience love up until this point.

What a sad journey/life. Being loved and loving someone back are extremely important factors in our lives. If you have never experienced both, it can have extremely devastating effects. I can only imagine how lonely, misunderstood and unloved he felt.

After high school Rodman as a student at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, an NAIA school, he worked at a summer youth basketball camp, where he befriended camper Bryne Rich. Another shy and withdrawn individual following a hunting accident in which he mistakenly shot and killed his best friend. The two became almost inseparable and formed a bond.

Rich invited Rodman to his rural Oklahoma home; at first, Rodman was not well-received by the Riches due to being an African-American. But, the Riches were so grateful to him for bringing their son out of his shell that they were able to set aside their prejudices. Rodman credits the Riches as his “surrogate family” that helped him through college.

SIDENOTE: Rodman credits the Riches as his “surrogate family”. Do you now see why a family unit is important in a child’s live. Not only in a child’s live, but in life overall. He started to see himself as having a purpose and value after being accepted and loved by a family. He probably wouldn’t have graduated college had it not been for his new family. 

The 1986 NBA Draft would mark an incredible journey in the life of the young Rodman. He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons. He didn’t make it to the Chicago Bulls until about 10 years later.

Dennis Rodman and daughter Alexis

Dennis Rodman and daughter Alexis

The Chicago Bulls is the team that really shot Rodman into limelight. Playing alongside legends like Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and being coached by Phil Jackson will do that to your career. During this time of his NBA career, Dennis was in several relationships.

His first significant relationship was with Annie Bakes whom he married. Their daughter Alexis was born in 1992 but the marriage was over the following year. Rodman stated that the divorce devastated him.

SIDENOTE: Rodman finally finds loves and is loved back but not for too long. I believe the thought of finally finding love and it escaping you is devastating.

But the one good thing that came out of the marriage was his daughter. Even if the world leaves you, your kids are there forever.  

Carmen is pictured to the right with Rodman during happier times

Five years after his divorce from Annie, Rodman finds love again in Carmen Electra Rodman found love again in Carmen Electra or at least he thought so. They were married in November 1998 but Carmen filed for divorce in April 1999.

Their marriage only lasted 6 months. Rumor has it the marriage didn’t last due to infidelity on Rodman’s part and his extreme wild ways.

SIDENOTE: Although I wasn’t in the relationship, I believe Carmen probably thought Rodman’s wild ways were fun prior to the marriage.

After marrying him, she discovered there’s a limit to partying, being wild and not caring about other people’s feelings. Being that Rodman really didn’t experience a real marriage outside the Riches’ he probably doesn’t know what it takes to be a husband. However, Athletes and infidelity go hand in hand. 

Michelle Moyer

Michelle Moyer, kids and Rodman are pictured during happier times

As if two divorces weren’t enough, Rodman tried marriage for the third time. The say third time is the charm. In 1999 Rodman met Michelle Moyer, with whom he has a son, D.J. (born 2000) and a daughter, Trinity (born 2001).

Moyer and Rodman married in 2003 on his 42nd birthday. Michelle Rodman filed for divorce in 2004, although the couple spent several years attempting to reconcile.

The marriage was officially dissolved in 2012 when Michelle Rodman again petitioned the court to grant a divorce. It was recently reported that Rodman owes $860,376 in child and spousal support.

SIDENOTE: Michelle probably tried to accommodate Rodman’s excesses but couldn’t cope. The damage was done 40+ years ago and it’s one that cannot be fixed. Dennis is fixed in his ways, so for any woman to think she can change him is delusional.

Although I still feel he is on the quest for something that will provide him with inner peace, it can only take an act of God to change the hands of time in his life. Too many people have failed in their duties to contribute love, a sense of belonging and purpose into this man’s life. 

Post his NBA career, Dennis took a long break from basketball and concentrated on his film career and on wrestling. He started wrestling during the time he got suspended from the 1996–1997 NBA season. He was extremely serious about his new found hobby of professional wrestling and appeared on the March 10 edition of Monday Nitro with his friend Hollywood Hulk Hogan in World Championship Wrestling.

His ring name “Imposter Sting” probably contributed to his success in wrestling. He also tried his luck at a few reality TV shows like Celebrity Apprentice, The Rodman World Tour, Celebrity Mole and others. Although he kept himself busy professionally, he was not a stranger to the law and continued controversy. From cross dressing to his outrages outburst and temper, Rodman kept his name in the media.

It was revealed recently that he owed more than $860,376 in back child support and was sentenced to 104 hours of community service after being found guilty of four counts of contempt for failing to pay child support. He was expected to pay $50,000 monthly in child support which has been reduced to $4,500 due to his current financial situation.  A sad situation for a man who earned $28 million during his NBA career as a result of endorsements, etc.

SIDENOTE: I am not trying to portray Dennis Rodman in a bad light or make light of his situation, I am merely trying to analyze what led to his current lifestyle and situation. We are all born with the same opportunities in life. We all travel the same road.

However, as the road forks the values and lessons we were raised up will determine which road to continue on. Some of us choose the road that leads to fame and success, some of us choose otherwise.

Even those that choose the road the leads to fame and success sometimes get derailed and end up in less than favorable situations later in life. 

I am still of the opinion that if he had a father figure in his life who taught him the life’s values, he could have done much better for himself. He was not taught how to be a man, talk-less how to be a father or husband.

He was never taught the basics of handling money which is an important lesson we need to impart to our kids. If he had all these values instilled in him as a young man, he would have understood that money does not stick around too long if it’s not invested properly.

I believe his failure in love and his expectations in life is what led him to drinking. An addiction such as drugs, alcohol or women will drain any man/woman’s pocket. It’s a blood sucking vice, but instead of sucking blood will suck your finances dry.

I’m always saddened when I see celebrities who were once financially comfortable go broke. It’s a sad situation. It’s better to have never tasted wealth than to have tasted wealth and lose it. I pray Dennis finds peace sooner than later. This has been a look at the eccentric life of Dennis Rodman.

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8 thoughts on “The eccentric life of Dennis Rodman

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