By Eric Thomas
Many Detroiters have fond memories of Dennis Rodman. He was really likable in his early years. He may have called Larry Bird overrated, but our chief Rodman memories were when he cried on the floor of the Palace at the celebration that followed the Pistons’ second championship in 1990.
The trade demanding, “Cha-Ching” head-shaving, sleeping in a car with loaded rifle Rodman didn’t show up until a few years later.
Rodman spent the rest of career begging for attention. He dyed his hair, filled his arms with tattoos (not common in the NBA at that point), got every square inch of his body pierced, dated Madonna and Carmen Electra (not common in the NBA at that point), and a bunch of other things that overshadowed his career average of 13 rebounds per game. This man wore a wedding dress in public and announced that he would be marrying himself to promote the release of his autobiography. There was no social commentary there, nor was there ever anything clever behind his antics—he just needed your attention.
The latest from Rodman, the full-on smooch of North Korean psycho-dictator Kim Jong-un, is where former Bad Boy has taken his attention-seeking behavior to dizzying new heights. Why is this even happening? The latest Kim is, like his father before him, a massive fan of American pop culture. When he was a child Jong-un idolized the Chicago Bulls—like many people in America who didn’t live in Detroit at that time; we really are the only ones who hated that team, aren’t we?—and his friendship with Rodman is something of a dream come true for the latest ruler in the Kim dynasty.
The video of Rodman embodying Marilyn Monroe and singing “Happy Birthday” to Jong-un is enough to turn your stomach, especially if you have even a casual understanding of the Kims and the horror of day to day life for most North Koreans. No international organization disputes that the small country is one of the most oppressive regimes in the world, the only disagreement is to what degree. Kim ordered his own uncle executed for his cozy relationship with the Chinese government last year—the only dispute is if he and his deputies were executed by conventional firing squad or ordered to be eaten alive by hunting dogs.
It’s easy to understand why Rodman is doing this: the North Korean government holds Jong-un up not just as a leader, but the physical embodiment of God on earth. If you’re someone like Rodman, who loves attention more than oxygen, it’s gotta be pretty cool being God’s buddy. Imagine the perks!
The Worm’s budding friendship with Kim also accomplishes his prime important directive: we’re talking about him. When was the last time this happened? Rodman has found his precious attention in both North Korea (where he’s God’s friend) and in America where we all want to yell at him now. He’s loving this.
It’s your fault. You weren’t paying attention to him. You made him go to North Korea and hang out with a crazy dictator who wants to shoot nuclear missiles at other countries and starve his people. You haven’t been paying attention to Dennis. You had to go off and start a family or business or hobby or pay attention to Lady Gaga. How dare you? Rodman’s second autobiography, which I’m sure answers all the pertinent questions posed in the first one, which was titled I Should Be Dead By Now, came out in 2005.
Did you buy it? One of the book’s ten reviews on Amazon compares Rodman’s writing style to that of Benjy Compson from William Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury—which, in addition to being one of the funniest things this blogger has ever heard, is a really mean thing to say about Dennis Rodman’s latest book. He wrote for you.
So please, someone, somewhere, ANYONE, please pay attention to Dennis Rodman. The NBA Hall of Famer is acting like this because you’ve been so rude to pay attention to something else. Please correct this so this embarrassment can come to a close. Don’t make him put on that wedding dress again.