Dennis Rodman, to this day, remains a figure that most would find hard to miss. His tattoos and wardrobe continue to attract attention, things that most never really expected to come out since he entered the league in 1986.

At that time, the cager is also known as “The Worm,” was a hard-nosed player that wowed basketball fans with his uncanny ability to haul down rebounds over bigger players. He was an important part of the Detroit Pistons at that time, winning two NBA titles (1989 and 1990) with the franchise.

Roland Lazenby, a respected book author of non-fiction books covering basketball and football, had plenty of fond memories about the 6-foot-7 cager.

The 69-year-old appeared on Sports Bytes Philippines on Dec. 30 in a year-ender special and responded to an interesting question from Aldrin Magnaye. He asked if there were any notable things that Rodman did that media was not aware of.

Lazenby said there were plenty. He started with that NBA championship post-celebration when he asked Rodman if he was aware that people were calling him the best rebounder in the league.

“‘Dennis? People are saying you are the best rebounder in the league.’ And he goes ‘Really? Gosh! The best rebounder in the league?’ He was just this pure spirit. He would run through a wall for Chuck Daly, his coach. You know, he didn’t even play high school basketball. Dennis Rodman is one of the great stories… also one of the great tragedies,” Lazenby quipped.

The conversation dragged on, until the point where Lazenby explained how things went spiraling for the 7-time NBA rebounding champion.

“Dennis was sort of a trendsetter and he was running around with Madonna. And he’s throwing away all that money in Vegas and is absolutely, absolutely broke,” Lazenby started.

But all this was before Jerry Krause and the Chicago Bulls entered the picture. After Jim Stack, Krause’s assistant made the suggestion, things just turned around heavily in the financial aspect for the two-time NBA All-Star.

“Suddenly he makes $15 million off the court in endorsements… this was in 95, 96.. that kind of money? They had Dennis lollipops, they had all kinds of Dennis paraphernalia. Bill Smith, the Bulls photographer, has stacks of photographs where he would go into bars with Dennis. And there was a thing in Chicago. They loved Dennis so much that all women would show their breasts. Smith would take photographs of all these women,” Lazenby recalled.

The book author stressed that none of what he said was exaggerated. He considered the story of “The Worm” epic, his life of which was a big party.

“Not a word of what I’ve said is exaggerated. I would suggest that the life of Dennis Rodman is epic. It became a giant party. And the sad moments are when the host is lonely and alcohol-addicted,” Lazenby said.

“Dennis was not Mr. Hollywood. He loved Hollywood, hanging with Madonna, but as a person he was real. And so his story is an epic story,” he added.

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