SPRINGFIELD, MA - AUGUST 12: Inductee Dennis Rodman arrives to the Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on August 12, 2011 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Dennis Rodman feared and respected on the court for almost the entirety of his Hall-of-Fame career and a laughingstock off of it is more than $800,000 behind on child support payments to his third wife, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Rodman was a hero of mine growing up, especially when he donned the red, white and blue Detroit Pistons uniform. Then he was reserved and easy to overlook but I saw how he did the little things to win games and took notice that he was the rare star who made his living on the defensive end of the court.
I always respected him as a player and believe he has been largely misunderstood through the years of cross-dressing, outlandish costumes, bad Jean Claude Van Damme movies and the like. Unfortunately, it seems everything is going wrong in Rodman's life:
"In all honesty, Dennis, although a very sweet person, is an alcoholic," said Peggy Williams, his financial advisor. "His sickness impacts his ability to get work. This case, especially his wife filing for divorce, has put him on a binge that I have never seen before. He is extremely hurt and extremely sick. He is often unable to obtain work because of this sickness. And his sickness is getting increasingly worse."
Rodman reportedly faces up to 20 days in jail and must return to court May 29. The back child support is for the children, ages 9 and 10, he had with his third wife, Michelle Rodman, according to the LA Times story.
I frankly don't really know what to say. It's such a sad situation that fame and notoriety seemed to chew Rodman up and spit him out. We all have certain demons that we fight and they aren't always drugs and alcohol. Sometimes it is procrastination, envy, attention-seeking, anxiety. We have issues we must face.
Unfortunately, some people can never overcome their internal struggles and they metastisize into the situation Rodman now finds himself in. On the basketball court, he was equipped to guard the most skilled players in the world. Off the court, he couldn't deal with the fame, money, attention, scrutiny, drugs, alcohol or women.
It is clear that the alcohol has done a lot of damage to his basic ability to function. But for his sake, I hope there is still time to treat his illness and take control of his life.