clip_image002You may not even know who he is. If you don’t then let me tell you that he was the NBA’s most colourful basketball player and by colourful, I mean actual colour, then rainbow hues and then controversy. He is by far one of the most interesting characters who ever blazed through the public eye, causing ruckus on the field and dating the likes of Madonna and Carmen Electra.

48 year old Rodman is known for two things. His primary raison d’etre is his sport. Not only was he the star of the NBA for years, he is also a wrestler with a cv encompassing such giants as Hulk Hogan. His second claim to fame is his personality.

clip_image001Rodman had, by all accounts, a dreadful childhood. He is one of 27 children fathered by a man he does not know and was raised alongside his two full sisters by a single mother who worked very hard for them. An introvert with gender issues, he even flirted with suicide. Very early on, he befriended a highly traumatised youngster who had recently shot his best friend dead by mistake. The boy’s family welcomed Rodman and his ability to draw their son out with open arms, helping him through college and almost adopting him as one of their own.

In his autobiography, which Rodman wore a wedding dress to launch, he talks about his decision to excise the man he did not want to be and come out as an eccentric. Rodman cross dresses with flair, he has turned his hair into a canvas and his skin into an artform, with many tattoos and piercings. He has had bona fide lines of clothing licensed in his name by the like of Nike and Trendz but his body art is so famous that he had to take a company to court for producing a Dennis Rodman Tattoo t-shirt without his permission.

My favourite image of Rodman is the front of his chest today. He has his upper chest adorned with snorting bulls facing each other, framed with thornlike tribals and a pair of wings framing his thyroid and finished off with a display of piercings to his lips and nipples. Coupled with his cheeky and yet somehow tender grin, it is the image that stands out in my mind of him having achieved personal satisfaction. This is a man who finally looks comfortable in his own skin.