Longform

Dennis Rodman: From Basketball Bad Boy to Dubious Diplomat

Page 6 of 7

The bill was paid, and Rodman climbed into Lancaster's silver SUV. They headed for her house near NE 73rd Street and Biscayne. Trishy Trish sat in the back. She'd been annoying him all day. One of his friends had called her a bitch, and this made Rodman wary of his bedmate.

"Do one thing, Trish: Shut up," Rodman growled after arriving at Lancaster's. "Quit being a bitch."

"What am I doing?" she asked.

"You want to be the boss!" Rodman yelled.

Rodman looked at a reporter. His eyes weren't discernible behind the dark sunglasses. "Write this, please. Please write it." He then glowered at Trishy Trish, who said, "Write it."

"Why are you mad at me?" she asked, weeping.

"Say you're sorry," Rodman commanded.

"I'm sorry."

"Not like that," Rodman said. "Say you're sorry."

"I'm sorry."

"Guess what?" Rodman said. "She's a bitch. I don't give a rat's ass."

"Why am I a bitch?" Trishy Trish asked. "You just stress me the fuck out. I'm tired. Every week has been like this!"

Crying, Trishy Trish disappeared behind Lancaster's house, but she returned minutes later smoking a cigarette.

"Dennis is a fucking asshole!" she screamed. "You guys try spending 24 hours a fucking day for a fucking month with him. See what kind of mood you're in. Don't take it personally, Dennis, but you're a lot of stress. You have a lot of emotion. I need a straitjacket probably. And who made you this way, Dennis? Who marketed you? You did!"

Rodman, looking at the white siding of Lancaster's house, was quiet for a long moment. "You know what?" he said. "She's right. How about that? She's right. And that's why people love me around the world."


By the time Rodman arrived at the Los Vegas strip club on an overcast Sunday afternoon later that week, the techno music was pulsing so loudly that thought had become impossible. That was fine by him. He was in his favorite flower-print blazer, and at his side were two brunet porn stars from Vivid Entertainment, a major pornography company in Los Angeles. The ballplayer ignored them. "I'm here to get fucked up," he said, sliding up to the bar at Sapphire Gentlemen's Club. Swilling red wine, he fell into the arms of a blond Playboy model in a red bikini.

Rodman wore a sad, distant expression and wasn't particularly interested in ­conversation with the young woman. He asked a burly, gray-haired photographer to stop snapping his picture, and bouncers erected a wall of chairs to separate him from other guests. For once, Rodman didn't want attention.

In the past two months, he's received more of it than he has in a decade. After North Korea, he was hammered with interview requests. In late March, Newsweek splashed a Buzz Bissinger opinion piece on its e-cover headlined, "Did Dennis Rodman Just Change the World?" Over the next few days, communicating exclusively through Trishy Trish, he abruptly canceled several appointments with New Times. In early April, he called off a late-night meeting at a club in Aventura. Then, Trishy Trish texted New Times to meet him at P.F. Chang's in Aventura at 1:30 p.m., adding in an additional message: "$10,000." That day, she called at 1:05 p.m.

"He won't be coming," she said. "I don't know where we're going, just somewhere else. Dennis' time is very valuable."

There's certainly competition for it. Donald Trump soon came calling for the season finale of Celebrity Apprentice. On an earlier episode of the New York City-based reality TV show, Trump — who shares a close Twitter relationship with Rodman and praises his North Korea trip — described Rodman as a tale of redemption but fired him for misspelling the name of his wife, Melania. (Gigi Peterson, who was then sharing a hotel room with Rodman, said he was devastated after the televised termination.)

In New York, the cameras never stopped. Strutting on the Celebrity Apprentice red carpet, Rodman wore heavy blue eye shadow and a blond Mohawk. Friend Floyd Raglin contends Rodman had talks with Sports Illustrated, which the New York Post reported is planning a cover story about him. According to an article in the Post, an SI reporter planned to shadow him at his 52nd birthday party, which he threw at a strip club called Cheetahs near Times Square.

It's easy to deride such antics as oafish hedonism — and sometimes they are — but there's also a certain genius in them. From winning championships with Jordan to donning a wedding dress at his autobiography's release and traveling to Pyongyang and Vatican City, he's amassed both fortune and relevance just by living out his own strange caricature.

His buddy Flaglin has another explanation. "It's because he's bored. When you've played with the best players, partied with all the stars, made movies, what's there left for him to do?"

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Terrence McCoy