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Originally appear as “No Rebound” on June 1, 2003, in The New York Times Magazine. Footnotes from the columnist are included throughout the story.

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Dennis Rodman, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, lounges in a armchair on the patio of his bank home in Newport Beach, Calif. Afterwards assorted hues and shades, Rodman’s beard is aback to its aboriginal black, although it’s now assuredly brittle. Jeans and a long-sleeve T-shirt announcement Josh Slocum’s, a restaurant and bistro adjacent that he co-owns, abstruse the tattoos. For his absolute developed life, Rodman has vacillated amid candied boyish and self-destructive adolescent. At the moment, the jailbait seems to be dominating. The seven-time National Basketball Association airy best and onetime Jean-Claude Van Damme co-star seems bemused and a little incoherent.

“Welcome to Rodman’s Reef,” he shouts. “Welcome to my crazy world. Put your band recorder away, accept a beer and address annihilation you want. One rule: you gotta bout me alcohol for drink.” He pauses, afresh adds seriously, “Just amuse don’t say I’m an idiot.”

Michelle Moyer, a 36-year-old albino and the mother of Rodman’s two youngest children, ages 2 and 1, reclines adjacent in a atramentous bikini. Their accord is unorthodox. Moyer and the kids alive a brace of afar away. Rodman, a abiding insomniac, generally stops by in the wee hours afterwards authoritative a Pampers run or acrimonious up roses for Moyer. They were affiliated on May 13, Rodman’s 42nd birthday, aloof four months afterwards Rodman was arrested on suspicion of calm violence. The alliance is Rodman’s third. His aboriginal concluded afterwards 82 days; the second, to the model-actress Carmen Electra, lasted bristles months.

Already it is adamantine to bethink how acclaimed Dennis Rodman was. But aloof six years ago, the admiral of the United States absolutely answered a catechism about Rodman, who had kicked a columnist during a game. “I’m abiding in his amore of hearts he abjure accomplishing that,” Bill Clinton said, adding, “I’m a big Rodman fan.”

This was a year afterwards Rodman appear his abnegation to accomplish articulate on Madonna, a adumbration fabricated accessible in Bad as I Wanna Be, his 1996 memoir, which became a New York Times best-seller.

All of that seems far, far away. Like an crumbling ball that keeps accepting abashed to a worse and worse time slot, Dennis Rodman’s celebrity is a cancellation. Rodman, by 1998 additional to his assistant Michael Jordan in name acceptance amid basketball players, has no endorsements, no accessible appearances and few prospects. Rodman’s collapse is archetypal American overexposure. Alarm it the Action Amount Syndrome. From William Shatner to Mr. T, few survive actuality molded into 11 inches of plastic. It’s a assurance that America has fabricated your acquaintance, collapsed in adulation and chock-full on your image. And we all apperceive what happens aing in affair and marketing: apathy followed by contempt. Today, it’s a abbreviate alley from the awning of GQ to a throwaway band in Conan’s monologue.

Rodman is in an alike added aperture than Captain Kirk and T, who enjoyed additional acts in the wink-wink apple of postmodern America, biting their own blah images in commercials. Unfortunately, Rodman morphed through so abounding absolutely noncornball configurations his aboriginal time about that there are few acts left.*

Unfortunately, Rodman morphed through so abounding absolutely noncornball configurations his aboriginal time…

On Rodman’s patio, two men in their backward 20’s sit shirtless, their abounding white audacity basting in the bounce sun. They sip affair from artificial cups. One of them, who gives his name as Todd, exchanges smooches with his pit balderdash and action audibly at aggregate Rodman says.*

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One of them, who gives his name as Todd, exchanges smooches with his pit balderdash and action audibly at…

Rodman’s blush abode opens assimilate a accessible bank brindled with surfers, pot-smoking adolescence and the desultory gawker. Two girls shyly access with a camera. “Hey, how old are you?” Rodman asks politely. A appealing bistered answers that she is 17. “Whoa, authority it appropriate there,” Rodman says. “I’m accident all my money through lawsuits. I can’t allow any more.” He accomplish assimilate the bank and poses on accessible property.

A little later, Brandi Brandt, the above wife of the Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx, arrives with her three children. Simultaneously, a fast-talking, dreadlocked Hawaiian called Sabian appears. His eyes are red, and his anatomy is covered with a boom of a animal skeleton. Sabian starts bushing baptize balloons and casting them at the kids with a acerbity that unnerves Rodman. Sabian plasters one of the kids, maybe 8, on the head, and the child’s eyes able-bodied with tears. Rodman acclaim hugs the boy, wrapping him in his massive arms, and whispers: “It’s all love. Annihilation gonna appear to you.” Pacified, the kid active aback to the sand.

I ask Rodman how he’s adequate retirement. “Don’t you ambition you had my life?” he asks, a base smile overextension beyond his chapped lips. “I adhere out and aloof chill. You wanna go surfing? There’s a lath in there. Afresh I go to my bar.” He says he doesn’t charge the celebrity life. “Wouldn’t you adulation to be me?” he asks.

Then Rodman goes quiet. “What I’d absolutely adulation to do is ball one added year,” he says, or drillmaster in the W.N.B.A. “But I’ve been blackballed. I opened all the doors, and now they don’t appetite me. Alike all the arid white guys got tattoos now.”

Eventually, all the guests depart. Rodman looks confused. “Who were those guys?” Moyer asks. Rodman stands up, and for the aboriginal time it’s bright that his adamant anatomy has gone a bit to seed; a tiny belly pokes out. “I accept never apparent them afore in my life,” he says.

For best of his life, Dennis Rodman’s adventure was added Disney than E! Rodman was reared in the Dallas projects, and his ancestor alone out of his activity aback he was 3. He played about no basketball in aerial school. Afterward graduation, he formed as a attendant at Dallas-Fort Worth airport and grew nine inches. He flunked out of inferior academy afterwards one division and landed at Southeastern Oklahoma Accompaniment on a basketball scholarship, breadth he averaged 24 credibility and about 18 rebounds his chief year.

Drafted in 1986 by the Detroit Pistons, Rodman played basketball counterintuitively, absorption on the arresting aspects of the game. “He had no abhorrence of absorption anybody; Bird, Jordan,” says Chuck Daly, Rodman’s drillmaster in Detroit.

The Pistons fabricated it to the N.B.A. finals in Rodman’s additional year, acceptable titles in his third and fourth. While the stars were Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer and Joe Dumars, it was Rodman’s arresting application that embodied the team.

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Rodman, who clashing best in the pros hadn’t been told aback the age of 3 that he would be an N.B.A. star, was a apprehensive sweetheart. He gave Waterford bright to Daly’s wife on Christmas and a Rolex watch to the Pistons’ public-relations director. He bought his mother and two sisters their own homes. His chastity was touching; he bankrupt bottomward arrant afterwards actuality called the N.B.A. Arresting Amateur of the Year.

Rodman’s career began its larboard about-face afterwards Daly was affected out by the Pistons in 1992. “It was like they got rid of my dad,” Rodman says. “I couldn’t absolve them.”

Having never accepted his absolute father, who emerged at the acme of Rodman’s acclaim claiming to accept sired 27 children, and afar from his abettor father, Daly, Rodman afflicted drastically. “Before that he anticipation bubbler was disgusting,” says Shirley Rodman, his mother.

Rodman played accession year for the Pistons, averaging a league-leading 18.3 rebounds a game, but Daly’s absence and a acrimonious aegis action with his aboriginal wife larboard him depressed. In February 1993, two badge admiral begin Rodman comatose in his barter alfresco the Pistons’ arena. A shotgun lay on the bench aing to him. According to his autobiography, that was the night that instead of killing himself, “I dead the Dennis Rodman that had approved to accommodate to what everybody capital him to be.”

That off season, he was traded to San Antonio, breadth he started dyeing his beard a array of colors and warred with Spurs management. The untalented Jack Haley was kept on the aggregation as Rodman’s caddy and communication to the organization. He withdrew from his teammates, abnegation to accompany them for huddles during time-outs. But he’d additionally baste out. In one incident, Rodman angrily confronted the Spurs’ center, David Robinson, cursing at him to appearance some heart. The afterward season, 1995-96, Rodman was traded to the Chicago Bulls for a blank called Will Perdue.

About 10 annual from Rodman’s Newport Bank home is the appointment of Dwight Manley, the artist of Rodman’s supersize media saturation. In the accession breadth adhere the affected jerseys of two of Manley’s awfully annoying above N.B.A. players, the backward Bison Dele and Vernon (Mad Max) Maxwell. Curiously, the jersey of Dennis Rodman, Manley’s aboriginal and best important client, has been relegated to the kitchen.

“I met Dennis at a craps table in Vegas in 1993,” Manley recalls. “He said he was abrogation the aing day. I came aback to Vegas a anniversary afterwards and he was still there.”

Manley didn’t appetite him to go home. Instead, he took Rodman to a concert and afresh to a accessible affair in Laughlin, Nev. An unlikely-looking Colonel Parker figure, Manley has a anemic face and the bendable appearance of a kindergarten teacher. Manley was blessed to absorb 24 hours a day with his new friend. “I handled the day and Dennis handled the night,” Manley says with a wan smile.

Any band amid business adviser and acquaintance bound blurred. Manley abounding the role alone aback Daly’s departure. But breadth Daly acceptable his assurance with discipline, Manley would accretion it by acceptable Rodman’s claimed Barnum. In 1995, Rodman confided to Manley that he was about broke. That summer, Manley, afresh separated, abashed Rodman into his Orange County home and abiding some advantageous autograph sessions. Soon, he was administration Rodman’s business affairs. During that season, aback Rodman was arena with the Chicago Bulls, Daly ran into the amateur two nights in a row at Gibson’s, a acclaimed Chicago steak joint. “I was present at the conception of the new Dennis Rodman,” Daly claims. “Dennis kept saying: ‘I’m authoritative $2 actor and it’s aloof not enough. I accept to actualize a new image.”‘

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Rodman bound exploded from basketball bazaar aberration to pop-culture diva, benefiting from his attendance on the dynastic, drifting Bulls. He admired actuality the ham, but like an alone adolescent, he never acclaimed amid absolute and self-damaging attention. Rodman threw his jersey into the Chicago army afterwards home victories. He palled about with Pearl Jam. His aboveboard adulation for confined and profession of accepting had a transual lover fabricated him a crossover brilliant in the another community. (He had an AIDS award absolute into his beard in 1995.) But afresh Rodman would do article berserk outrageous; fly to Vegas on an off day, head- a ref or accusation the Mormon citizenry of Utah. That all aloof fed the legend. It was a bit like annual comedy. Rodman would act out, and Jordan would cycle his eyes and helplessly shrug, as if to say, “That’s Dennis actuality Dennis.”

The Rodman abnormality hit its acme with the advertisement of Bad as I Wanna Be. For publicity, Manley orrated a book signing on Fifth Avenue in which Rodman accustomed in a carrying cutting a bells dress, trailed by a cloister of tuxedo-clad women. His architecture was done by the allegorical Kevyn Aucoin. In the end, Rodman fabricated a advertence to masturbation and affiliated himself.

“That was our idea,” Manley says. “Dennis was absolutely on board.”

There were amaranthine Howard Stern appearances, apple publicity tours and Simon Sez, one of the affliction films of all time, starring Rodman as an Interpol agent. In 1997, Manley estimates Rodman fabricated $10 actor in off-court revenue.

Not surprisingly, Rodman hit the celeb angled point. Unrelenting, Manley adjourned a seven-figure beforehand for Rodman’s additional arcane effort, Walk on the Wild Side. By now, Rodman’s adeptness to shock was no best shocking. His announcement that he capital to change his name to Orgasm was met with indifference. By Manley’s account, the book was abhorrent and awash poorly.

During the 1997-1998 season, his aftermost with the Bulls, Rodman’s behavior became added erratic—including an 11-game abeyance for accusation the columnist in the adventure that fabricated Clinton booty notice. At this time, he was accident Manley, who abashed in with his adherent and was no best accessible at a moment’s notice. Rodman afresh acted out like an alone child. In November 1998, he affiliated Carmen Electra, a Baywatch fixture, at the Las Vegas Little Chapel of the Flowers. Manley apprenticed Rodman to accept the alliance annulled on the area that Rodman was too angled to accept what he was doing. Soon thereafter, Manley approved to assignment out a barter of Rodman to the Los Angeles Lakers that would accept acceptable him a $7 actor contract. But Rodman chock-full abiding his buzz calls and wouldn’t accord his approval. Manley accommodated as his agent. In the end, Rodman became a chargeless agent, and he signed, admitting briefly, with the Lakers for the alliance minimum. A year later, his career was over.

Shortly afterwards the abandonment of the alien guests, Rodman and Michelle Moyer accumulation into his atramentous Hummer. Moyer drives—since a 2000 D.U.I. conviction, Rodman rarely gets abaft the wheel—to Josh Slocum’s, a abundantly afire flush club. Rodman orders bisected the menu. He requests a Red-Headed Slut fabricated with Jägermeister, amateur sec and a blow of cranberry juice. He afresh rhapsodizes at abundant breadth and bright detail about the animal accomplishment of Moyer. Rodman proclaims, “I’ve slept with so abounding women, it doesn’t amount anymore.” He ducks into the bathroom. Moyer rolls her eyes and animadversion to the changeable bartender, “Any accord with Dennis is in a accompaniment of connected rebuilding.”

Upon his return, Rodman drags me into the kitchen. Rodman grabs tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, a allotment of angle and a abrade tortilla. He shapes it on a plate; cautiously rearranging the accommodation of the ingredients. He takes a chaw and says, “Damn, this should go on the menu.” Jose, the chef, smiles and says, somewhat unconvincingly: “Dennis helps me with a lot of things. He is so creative.”

Back at the bar, Rodman downs three added shots. He polishes off 19 in four hours afore I lose count. Some aboriginal diners crawl in, and Rodman commandeers the complete system. He turns it up to ear-bleeding levels.

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Like a absorbing 5-year-old in a sandbox, Rodman builds friendships instantly. For a few hours, he treats me like his best buddy; annihilation affairs to him except my happiness. The Counting Crows song “Mr. Jones” comes on. He puts me in a headlock and sings all the verses into my ear.* “Man, you’re all right, you’re not activity to spiral me?” Rodman asks. “I can’t alike assurance my family. I don’t allocution to any of them.”

He puts me in a headlock and sings all the verses into my ear

The song changes to the A-Ha archetypal “Take On Me.” Rodman starts berserk dancing, accusation his massive legs into the air, sometimes aloof a backyard or so from middle-aged patrons. By the end of the song, added than a dozen guests carelessness banquet and leave the restaurant.

We sit bottomward at a table. According to Experian Business Reports, a banking risk-assessment service, Josh Slocum’s has become “increasingly late” in advantageous creditors. I ask him how he’s accomplishing financially. “Man, all these attorneys are bleeding me. It can’t go on abundant longer, ’cause I ain’t got abundant left.” It’s not surprising; in accession to his arrests, Rodman has acclimatized several lawsuits for declared animal advance out of cloister and appear up adjoin the City of Newport Bank over added than 80 babble complaints fabricated adjoin his home. “I’ve absent about everything,” he says. “But the alone actuality I accept to accusation is Dennis Rodman. That’s O.K. by me. Money doesn’t beggarly a lot.”

Rodman shouts for added booze. I ask if his bubbler is out of control. He fires off a cord of expletives. But afresh he says matter-of-factly, “I like it; it makes me feel good, so what the hell.”

By 1 a.m., his accent is about indecipherable. Sitting with some friends, he mumbles, “All I wanna do is go home and accept with my wife.” Moyer says: “O.K., baby, that can happen. Let’s go.” Rodman smiles crazily, “Yeah, like that is absolutely gonna happen.” Moyer and a administrator amount him into the Hummer. He dreamily looks out the window, and afresh he is gone.*

He dreamily looks out the window, and afresh he is gone.

At one point, while we sat at his nightclub, Dennis Rodman brought up Mike Tyson. “That dude can’t acquaint the aberration amid angel and reality,” Rodman said. “He thinks he’s a boxy guy, aback he’s aloof a guy. I can’t change my image, because Dennis is my image.”

When I acknowledgment these animadversion to Chuck Daly, he chuckles sadly.* “That’s Dennis’s problem,” he says. “He’s absent himself; he can’t see breadth one starts and the added ends. He’s assertive he has to ball up to that. I apperceive that’s not him. The shy kid I met is who he is.”

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When I acknowledgment these animadversion to Chuck Daly, he chuckles sadly.

Two canicule later, I get a alarm from his above angel maker. “If you see Dennis, amuse accompany him over to my office,” Dwight Manley says. “I appetite to try and set up an intervention. I’ve talked to Michael Jordan. He said he’d do annihilation to help, and I’m aggravating to ability Chuck Daly.”

According to Manley, he chock-full into Josh Slocum’s three weeks earlier. Aback Rodman saw Manley, he access into tears. “We went into the aback and he told me, ‘I’m activity to lose everything—please, amuse advice me.’ He was arrant so hard, the snot was cloudburst out his nose. I told him to accomplish the aboriginal step, to alarm me, but he never did. He’s aloof a adumbration of what he was. It break my heart.”

While it is bright that Manley has 18-carat amore for his above client, I ask him if he feels any faculty of albatross for Rodman’s accepted asperity through his amaranthine promotions and sideshows.* “Not at all,” Manley says. “He would be in the aforementioned abode he is now, but at atomic he had some abundant adventures and fabricated some money. Dennis could acquire $200,000 a year aloof actuality Dennis Rodman, authoritative claimed appearances and accomplishing events. He’d accept to lose the limos and the entourage, but he could accept a nice life.”

While it is bright that Manley has 18-carat amore for his above client, I ask him if he feels…

Over the aing four days, I attending for Rodman with no luck. I run into Moyer at Josh Slocum’s. She doesn’t apperceive breadth he is. There are rumors he’s in Los Angeles or that he has entered one of his aphotic periods and refuses to see anyone. Manley calls again. “If you see Dennis,” he says, “tell him I got a alarm about a TV appearance that wants him. I can’t say what it is. But it sounds promising.”*

“I can’t say what it is. But it sounds promising.”

Stephen Rodrick is a accidental biographer for The New York Times Magazine and a accidental editor for Men’s Journal. His aboriginal book, The Magical Stranger, was appear on Tuesday.

The Stacks is Deadspin’s active annal of abundant journalism, curated by Bronx Banter’s Alex Belth. Read his addition here.

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