|Kim, Rodman. Not pictured: Dignity.|
On his way to his inevitable fate of giving strangers $5 handjobs in public toilets, Dennis Rodman is gonna make sure that, if nothing else, he is not forgotten. There was a time when his name conjured images of pure grit and hustle. Lockdown defense and rebounding were his calling cards on the basketball court; but, those days are long, long gone...
Nowadays, Dennis Rodman seems on a mission to keep his name in the public eye by any means necessary. Either immune to embarrassment, or so addled by years of binge drinking that he can no longer recognize it; Rodman will seemingly show up wherever there are a few cameras and something of a paycheck. Hey, the man's gotta make a living, I get that; but, at least he could try and do something a little more dignified like, say, one of those Bum Fights videos or something.
In his latest "look at me!" escapade, Rodman has assembled a team of other seemingly cash-strapped ex-NBAers to go and play an exhibition game for Kim Jong Un in North Korea. When I first heard this, it sounded surreal to me; which means, considering that it's Dennis Rodman, it made perfect sense in kind of a through-the-looking-glass way.
Imagine if Leo Durocher had hit a few grounders to Hitler and Rommel on a trip to Berlin in 1942; or maybe wrap your head around how it might've looked if Joe Namath and Ayatollah Khomeini tossed a football around outside the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1980, because this isn't all that much different.
And yet, while a number of Americans are outraged (especially NBA Commissioner David Stern, who couldn't distance himself and the league fast enough), I'm not. At least not as much as others. Let the political scholars who are far more educated than I am analyze and breakdown North Korea's history of human rights failures.
Me? All I can see is the circus.
Right now, Rodman and his weird antics are still entertaining in a sort of harmless freakshow way; but, we can all kinda see where this is headed, and it ain't gonna be pretty.
Whether it's drugs, booze, mental illness or any combination thereof, it's clear that Dennis Rodman has some serious problems. Personally, I'm not a big fan of interventions and the like. Maybe it's worked for you, and if so, great. To me, cornering Grandpa and reading him letters detailing how his boozing and whoring are making Grandma cry in Heaven just seems kind of a shitty and manipulative thing to do. The only true answers are those we find ourselves, as opposed to being emotionally beaten and guilted into submission.
But, maybe Rodman has now become such an extreme case that the only thing that might save him is to be kidnapped and put into treatment for whatever is going on.
The way things are going right now, he just looks like one of those guys that's gonna OD in some abandoned barn, or fall asleep on railroad tracks or freeze to death in a walk in refrigerator at some Stuckey's out in the middle of nowhere.
But, for the time being, his ever-dwindling little circus goes on, accompanied along it's many stops by a tatty, wobbling brass band playing a song that sounds a little more like a dirge with each passing day...