Retiring a player's number is a pretty big deal. It's a once-in-a-lifetime recognition for most athletes. Unless you're Dennis Rodman. Then you do it twice in one year. Would you expect anything different from the man who boasts the most consecutive years as rebound king AND the most flamboyant player to ever sashay across a court?
The Worm turns 50 today, and he's planning to have his #10 Detroit Pistons jersey hung from the rafters at the Headquarters Gentlemen's Club in New York City while strippers dance around in the Detroit uniform. Dennis the Menace really IS hitting middle age, folks. He's letting his strippers wear clothes!
Thank goodness -- for the sanctity of the sport anyway -- the Pistons themselves already honored Rodman's record in April, rising the #10 to the rafters at the Palace at Auburn Hills. True to form, he showed up nose rings and all, but the part-time professional wrestler and one-time bad boy of basketball actually CRIED where people could see it. It kind of makes me feel like this guy's got a warm and cuddly side. Like maybe we can forget him boasting about bedding 2,000 women and touch him with more than a 10-foot pole (please say he wore a condom, please say he wore a condom)?
OK, so the whole debauched "gentleman's club" birthday celebration with Charlie Sheen (rumor has it he'll show up at least -- it's not like he's got any real work to do these days) doesn't make him the paragon of decency. If I remember correctly (it's been awhile Dennis), that's why we loved watching him play, why they retired his jersey ... the first time around. Because he was as crazy on the court as off. It's that slightly off-kilter sense of self that helped him win two NBA championships with the Pistons and three more later on with the Bulls. He charged at the game the way he did at life.
But I gotta say, a night out at a gentleman's club to celebrate your birthday sounds kind of tame from a guy who once wore a wedding dress to promote his first autobiography and sat in a coffin to promote the second. What comes after hanging out with young girls to try to retain your youth? A sporty car? A gym membership?
It's no wonder he wants to retire his jersey again. As long as he keeps bringing up the past, he can pretend he's not getting too old to be THE Dennis Rodman.
Do you like this kinder, gentler Dennis Rodman or do you miss the original bad boy?
Image via Open Sports/Flickr