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BY Mildred Europa Taylor, 11:00am June 01, 2023,

When NBA star Dennis Rodman married himself to increase his fortune

Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman, dressed as a bride, poses at a New York bookstore Wednesday, Aug. 21, 1996, while promoting his book, "Bad As I Wanna Be." Photo: AP

Known for his colorful hairstyles and tattoos as well as his conspicuous ear, nose and mouth piercings, Dennis Rodman’s successes, both individually and as a team player, weren’t an easy feat. The former basketball legend and Hall of Famer’s performances, notably as a tireless defensive player who did all the “dirty work”, made him one of the very best in that trade. He is also regarded as one of the greatest rebounders in NBA history but his highly successful playing career was engulfed with controversies both on and off the court.

He wrestled with Hulk Hogan, had an affair with Madonna, and became “good friends” with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, making multiple visits to the communist nation. But perhaps the most interesting drama was in 1996 when the 6’7″ player wore a wedding dress and claimed to marry himself while promoting his memoir “Bad As I Wanna Be”.

Rodman arrived at a Barnes & Noble in a horse-drawn carriage with women dressed in tuxedos while he wore a custom-made wedding dress. The basketball star said that he was bisexual, adding that he was marrying himself. This made headlines and it helped Rodman, who had a net worth of $27 million at the peak of his career, to promote his book. According to media reports, his memoir topped the New York Times Best Sellers list and remained there for 20 weeks. 

Born in Dallas and raised by his mother, together with his two sisters, in a poor household, Rodman started cross-dressing at a young age as he grew up mostly around women. “I don’t remember the first time I decided to do it as an adult,” he explained in his memoir. “It was more of a gradual thing, where it progressed from earrings and fingernails to halter tops and tight leather shorts.”

“When I cross-dress now, it’s just another way I can show all the sides of Dennis Rodman,” he said. In 1996, Bulls star Rodman decided to cross-dress and “marry” himself after having seen radio and TV personality Howard Stern do something similar for his book release a year before. So for Rodman’s ceremony at a Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue, Rodman wore a custom-made bridal gown that was made in France while his makeup was done by Kevyn Aucoinack. And as indicated earlier, the public stunt worked for the basketball legend. 

More about Rodman’s basketball career

Besides 5 NBA championships to his name, the 6’7″ Rodman, also known as “The Worm”, led the league in rebounds for seven consecutive seasons and became the oldest player to lead the league in rebounding at the age of 36 years and 341 days during the 1997/98 season. He also won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award twice and made it into the All-Defensive First Team seven times, among other accolades.

A powerhouse, Rodman played a very instrumental role in helping the Detroit Pistons beat their then-bitter rivals, the Chicago Bulls – a team he would later join – in two consecutive Eastern Conference finals in 1989 and 1990. Known as the “Bad Boys” for their physicality, the Pistons went ahead to win both NBA finals.

Rodman later joined the Chicago Bulls in 1995 where he formed a formidable partnership with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to win the 3-peat in ’96, ‘97 and ‘98. An unbreakable and very dominant trio, Jordan, Pippen, as well as former coach Phil Jackson, have spoken extensively of how indispensable and vital Rodman was to their success – something “The Worm” himself knows.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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