Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, best known for his bizarre image and championship dynasty run with the Chicago Bulls in 1995-‘98, has been voted to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame (HOF). But according to reports, the 49-year-old Trenton, N.J. native was more surprised than anyone when he first heard the good news.
“I thought it was a joke,” Rodman said during a news conference on April 4, according to NBCSports.com. “I never even dreamed of this. I never even thought of being in the Hall of Fame … When I played, I did my job, had fun, and entertained the crowd. This right here, I’m trying to soak it all in.”
Rodman certainly has the career resume to qualify for the HOF; he was a 7-time NBA rebounding champion, 7-time All-Defensive First Team selectee, 2-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 2-time NBA All-Star and 5-time NBA champion (three rings earned with the Bulls and two with the Detroit Pistons in 1989-1990).
But Rodman’s “weird” off-court antics attracted just as much attention, if not more, than any on-court accomplishment. He adopted a “bad boy” image and promoted his outrageous lifestyle, which included dying his hair several colors, cross-dressing and partying nonstop. He was arrested in 1999 for drunk driving and was convicted for domestic violence in 2008.
“I’m lucky to be alive, lucky to be standing here, talking to you guys. Sometimes I feel so out of place because of the way I am, the way I dress, the way I talk,” said Rodman, dressed in jeans and an open shirt showing off his tattooed chest, while everyone else at the news conference wore suits.
“I like to go out, do certain things. The clubs, the beaches, do my thing. The guys here are very conservative, very laid back. I’m like the wild child here.”
Rodman’s “wild child” character would expose its self during basketball games, too. He was ejected from several games throughout his 14-year career for fighting players and arguing with referees. He once kicked a floor-side cameraman after falling into the stands during a Bulls game. “The way I am, I thought I wouldn’t get in (the hall). I thought they’d say, ‘Dennis, you do too many things off the court that don’t represent the hall,’ he said.
“I didn’t take any offense. I just blew it off. I had a great time, a great career. But they were able to look past the negativity and say, ‘He changed the game.'”