As viewers of The Last Dance and longtime basketball fans know, Dennis Rodman is definitely one of basketball’s most memorable stars. The famously quirky player is best known for being part of the championship-machine Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, but his life after the Bulls has perhaps grabbed even more headlines.
As the championship era for the Bulls came to an end, many members of the iconic squad left the team, including Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, as well as head coach Phil Jackson. The 1998-1999 basketball season was shortened by a lockout while NBA players renegotiated with the league, and Rodman was released by the Bulls in Jan. 1999, prior to the season’s delayed start in February. He was almost immediately picked up by the Los Angeles Lakers, where he played for the remainder of the shortened season and made $1 million, according to Bleacher Report.
Rodman then moved on to the Dallas Mavericks for the 1999-2000 season, but his short time there was marked by clashes with the team and with NBA officials. The Dallas News described several of Rodman’s more controversial moments in Dallas: he received technical fouls, argued with referees, made comments in the press calling himself “a marked man” and accusing the NBA of bias, and publicly criticized his teammates and owner Mark Cuban. “I figured I would come here, generate some excitement, some life for this team. But for whatever reason, we’re not getting that whole team effort,” Rodman said at one point, later adding, “We’re like that movie Lost in Space. We have no sense of direction. We’re lost. There’s not much else to say.”
By early March, Rodman was dropped from the Mavericks, and he ultimately ended his NBA career at that point. He did return to basketball for a few years, playing in the “minor league” American Basketball Association from 2003 to 2006. He also played in a few exhibition games for international teams, then attempted an ill-fated acting career around the same time.
During his NBA career, Rodman was known for his physical style of play, as well as his outsized personality and controversial, colorful remarks — and that part of his reputation only grew after he left the sport. He appeared on several reality TV shows, including the UK versions of Celebrity Big Brother and Love Island, as well as two separate stints on Celebrity Apprentice in the US. In 2013, he made headlines with his visit to North Korea; in subsequent years, he became vocal about his “friendship” with Kim Jong-Un and supported Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign in 2016. His legal troubles have also been very public: he has been arrested multiple times for domestic violence, as well as for drunk driving and a hit-and-run accident.
In 2019, ahead of the release of ESPN’s Dennis Rodman: For Better or Worse, he talked to the network about his life and career, and, in particular, his struggles to be a father to his children: “My kids now want to come and try to be close to me, and I’m trying to figure out if I could actually do this . . . It can’t just be for the time being and then going back to being Dennis Rodman again. Can I be [there] consistently? That’s the only thing I’m fighting with.”