Washington Evening Journal
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If you're like me and over 6 million others, your Sunday night life has revolved around one amazing documentary for the last two weeks. ESPN began to run episodes of 'The Last Dance,” the documentary about the 1998 Chicago Bulls, on February 19, and since the first episode dropped, the world has been a slightly brighter place.
After releasing the first two episodes last week, ESPN released two more on Sunday night, including one much-anticipated episode which highlights one of my childhood idols, the great Dennis Rodman.
I was born in 1990, meaning most of my youth took place during the Bulls' run of dominance. My family has always been a Chicago sports family and since the Cubs and Bears both totally sucked for most of that decade, the Bulls were all we had.
Back in the 1990s, everyone idolized Jordan and Pippen but we were discouraged from trying to emulate Rodman, who had piercings and tattoos everywhere, wore a wedding dress for a publicity stunt, received technical fouls all the time and dated both Madonna and Carmen Electra, one of probably only a few hundred men to do so.
By the way, quick sidebar here for the Tuesday Troup: Have you ever looked at Madonna's list of ex boyfriends? I'm looking at it right now and let me tell you, it's a star-studded list.
Along with Rodman, Madonna dated Tupac Shakur, Vanilla Ice, Jose Canseco, Lenny Kravitz, John F. Kennedy Jr., Sean Penn, Michael Jackson and Charles Barkley. That's a power list. I challenge anyone to come up with a better list than that, especially in the 1990s.
If Madonna started her own country and just brought along all her ex boyfriends and husbands, how well do you think that team would do in the Olympic basketball tournament? I bet they at least win bronze. That's insane to think about, but uniquivacly true.
Let's see the Croatians try and stop Rodman and Barkley inside when they have the distraction of Tupac, Ice and Wacko Jacko (arguably three of the greatest rappers of all time) on busting moves on the perimeter. I could see Madonnastan (the name of the country would be 'Madonnastan” by the way) rolling up on the vast majority of European and South American countries, assuming this tournament takes place in Rodman's prime.
Who would be the head coach of the Madonnastan national basketball team, by the way? I bet JFK Junior could rally the troops past Australia in the quarterfinals. I guess team chemistry might be an issue.
Alright side bar over, let's go back to talking about the Worm. What a nickname, by the way. You don't get called 'the Worm” unless you're a straight up pest. If you've never heard of Dennis Rodman before and you match up with him on the playground, you already know you're in for a rough one when his buddies start calling him 'Worm.”
You know what's another easy nickname to crack? 'The Weasel.” If you're watching an Italian crime movie and one of the guys is nicknamed 'The Weasel,” you can bet your yearly salary he's trouble. That dude is going to stab the rest of the main crew in the back when they expect it the least. I guarantee you that. Kind of serves them right for trusting a guy named 'The Weasel” anyway.
Alright for real back to the man at hand. When Rodman wasn't partying in Las Vegas, dating pop stars and models, and getting tattoos, he was just being a straight up bad boy on the court. I specifically remember my cousins and I getting in trouble for practicing throwing the ball off each other as we go out of bounds.
If you're not familiar with big baller basketball plays, one of the coolest thing you can do on the court is to save the ball by pegging one of your opponents in the head, back or leg with it and watching it fly into the stands or passed the baseline.
'Hey bud I know I just busted your nose up with that basketball and you're on the ground crying, but it's also out on you. Get back on defense bucko, we've got a game to play.”
Our parents hated when we emulated Rodman in the backyard. Sure, it was OK to do a fadeaway and pretend you're M.J., but they didn't like the game where one of us would pretend to be the ref and another would practice getting in their face and berating them for a bad call.
I want all of you out there with access to the internet to check out a video on YouTube. It's a video called 'Dennis Rodman vs. Refs,” and it is a perfect example what your parents don't want you doing. In the video, Rodman goes up for a rebound against Shaquille O'Neal, and it looks like Rodman has it easy but the refs call a jump ball. Rodman sarcastically laughs off the call and then protests the jump ball by not jumping. He just stands there and watches the Magic get the ball as a way to show up the official. He also plays defense with his hands behind his back because he thinks the ref will call a foul on him no matter what he does.
I wonder if our parents thought we shouldn't look up to Rodman because they were afraid we'd turn in to him when we grew up. Good news, mom and dad, I never even went on one date with Carmen Electra when I was single. Not one.
I wouldn't be doing the legend of the Worm its due diligence if I didn't bring up the cameraman incident in 1997. In a road game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Rodman battled for a rebound under the basket and ended up falling into a camera guy. He decides it's the cameraman's fault and kicks him super hard in the groin, an act that no man can get away with no matter how many romantic dinners he had with Madonna in her prime, and also an act that got him suspended indefinitely.
Some of you may see the irony here, given that I am now basically a cameraman. The exact type of person I grew to despise when Rodman got suspended (Six-year old me probably would have argued it wasn't Rodman's fault). You could make the argument that if it were more acceptable to emulate Rodman, I could be in the NBA right now instead of on the sidelines. I'm not saying it's the most likely outcome, I'm just saying you can make the argument.
By the way, guess how much money that cameraman got in a settlement? $200,000. Yes, that's two-hundred thousand. That's bookoo bucks. And in 2020, with social media? That has to be much closer to a milly. For anyone over 30, by the way, 'a milly” is the young cool way to say '1 million.”
That gives me a great idea. What if I bought a Rodman jersey and let people kick me for $200,000. You just pay me the first hundred grand, kick me just like Rodman kicked the guy in 1997, and then pay me the other half after the violence is done. That's modern day Evil Kenevil type stunting.
You know, the big hang up with that, though, is I really don't want to get kicked in the groin. But it is $200,000. Maybe if I just told people Rodman actually kicked the guy in the leg or something. I bet nobody would look it up and fact check me on it, and if they did, I could just give them their money back. Maybe I could do a JV version where you kick me in knee for like fifty-grand.
Actually, you know who likes kicking cameramen? You would know if you've been following along. Dennis Rodman. He likes kicking cameramen. Maybe I could pay him to kick me. I bet he's really got an itch after all these years.
Mr. Rodman, if you are reading this, please give me a call. I have a business offer you're not going to want to pass up.