PUBLISHED Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 3:43 pm EDT
Dennis Rodman has hit bottom again. Please raise your hand if you’re surprised.
He is “extremely sick” and extremely broke, his financial advisor told a judge Tuesday. Rodman was there for a contempt of court hearing. He owes $808,935 in child and spousal support, and he long ago ran out of wedding gowns to hock.
Meanwhile, across town in L.A., Magic Johnson was closing a $2 billion deal to buy the Dodgers. Have the after-lives of two Hall of Famers ever risen so high and sunk so low on the same day?
One has been smart, responsible and ambitious. He turned his basketball fortune into a financial empire.
Then there’s the Worm, who spent his millions on bar tabs, hair dye, tattoo artists, strippers and Carmen Electra.
“The rest, I wasted,” he would probably say.
—'Sick' Rodman faces jail time over failure to pay child support, spousal support
Like most rebels, Rodman has never had many regrets. It’s hard to feel sorry for him like we do other broken-down stars. The sad part is the more he self-immolated, the easier it’s become to forget why we ever cared about him in the first place.
Rodman was barging onstage about the time Magic was leaving. They’d both come from humble beginnings. Johnson was the son of a GM assembly-line worker in Michigan. A single mother in Texas raised Rodman.
Dennis was cut from his high-school team, and then he had a growth spurt and became a 6-foot-6 janitor. He played low-level college ball and the Pistons drafted him. Nobody had a clue what they were getting.
Rodman was one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history. He was listed at 6-8, but he really was shorter and had absolutely no business leading the league in rebounding for seven straight years.
His timing, hustle and relentlessness were unmatched. Dennis the Menace couldn’t shoot a lick, but it’s no coincidence that he played on five NBA championship teams.
He quietly played out his career, met a nice girl, settled down and they lived happily ever after.
Well, not quite.
Rodman became the most super of freaks. Some people say it was always in him. Others say it was contrived. That he realized being a rebounding king was nice, but he was more marketable as a neon-haired, authority-defying rebounding enigma.
Maybe he really did love Madonna. I won’t pretend to understand him. If he donates his brain to science, researchers will spend years trying to figure out the wiring.
What makes one man a Magic and the other a Worm?
Somewhere in that multi-colored head, there might have been an “off” switch. Rodman never found it on the court, which made for great basketball.
He also never found it off the court, which made for thousands of wild nights. There’s no telling how many tequila shots Rodman had, laughing at conformists like Magic who saw beyond the next party.
“I’m surprised to be living, to be honest with you,” he said.