Smokin' and jokin' with Hulk Hogan at WCW
Posted: Tuesday June 09, 1998 05:34 PM
Rodman, who wrestled with Hulk Hogan last summer, joined the Hulkster for an interview at the start of WCW Monday Nitro (CNN/SI)|
CHICAGO (AP) -- His overnight trip to Las Vegas after Game 1 wasn't
nearly as outrageous as his Mormon bashing last year.
It's been tame stuff for the poster boy for bad behavior. He needed a
really good antic, something that screamed Dennis Rodman.
And he came through Monday, missing practice and the mandatory NBA Finals
Rodman, who was fined $10,000 by the NBA and probably will be fined by
the Chicago Bulls, was
seen Monday night with Hulk Hogan attending a wrestling match in Auburn
Hills, Michigan He declined to talk to a reporter at the match, staying in
a luxury box at The Palace.
He was with World Championship Wrestling President Eric Bischoff and
wrestlers Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and 7-foot-4, 510-pound grappler billed as
the "The Giant," who defended Rodman's absence from the Bulls.
"The beautiful thing about Dennis is that he's the epitome of a free
spirit," said The Giant, whose real name is Paul Wight II. "If the Bulls
try to control him from doing things like this, it would be like cutting
off Sampson's hair."
The event was aired on the TNT network.
"I talked to Dennis and he did not speak," coach Phil Jackson said. "He
said to my assistant trainer he didn't think he could make it down here in
time for the press conference. I asked him, `Dennis, what should I say to
the press?' and he hung up on me."
Only the tattooed and multihued one could top the Chicago Bulls complete
humiliation of the Utah
Jazz in Game 3. So what if the Bulls held the Jazz to 54 points, the
lowest point total since the inception of the shot clock in 1954? Who cares
if Utah looks beat and a sixth title is within Chicago's reach? So what if
Stockton and Karl Malone are
None of that matters, not when Rodman is wigging out again.
"It's very frustrating at this time," Scottie Pippen
said. "But you don't want to carry that into the next time, you don't want
to carry that into the next practice. You want the team chemistry to stay
as strong as possible. Especially the situation we're in, we don't want
Dennis taking the focus away from the team."
Accepting someone's quirks is one thing, but Rodman brings a whole new
meaning to the word eccentric. There's his multicolored hair, now dyed in a
fetching, green-and-black camouflage design. There's his landscape of
tattoos and pierced body parts.
Rodman was a bit too preoccupied on Monday to show up for the mandatory NBA Finals media session (CNN/SI)||
But more than anything, there's his behavior, which he seems to bring to
new lows in the playoffs. Last year it was Mormon bashing. This year it's
He waltzes in a half-hour late for home games. He disappears to the
locker room early in each half -- supposedly to keep his muscles warm --
forcing Jackson to send a trainer to fetch him so he can make a grand
entrance. A two-day birthday bender left him too pooped to practice in the
And now, this.
"We couldn't have a society that acted like Dennis," Jackson said. "There
would be nobody having lanes in the freeway, you couldn't queue up anywhere
and get in line. You'd have to be disorderly. Dennis is not a normal person
in our society, but he's great in what he does here."
Which is why the Bulls are content to let Rodman do his thing and why they
insist he's not a distraction. Jackson didn't even mind when Rodman flew
from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas after Game 1, saying, "It's better than
him hanging around this town and upsetting some Mormons."
Though he hasn't been spectacular in the playoffs, Rodman has been solid.
His mere presence on the floor gives the team a spark, and unlike last
year, he's held his own against Malone.
"We don't like it, but we put up with it," Luc Longley said
of Rodman's antics.
Besides, it's not like any of this is anything new. Rodman has been acting
goofy for years, and the Bulls knew what they were getting when they signed
him three years ago.
In fact, his latest one-year contract was designed specifically to make
him behave. It has a $4.5 million base -- a paltry sum for one of the best
rebounders ever -- with another $5.95 million in games-played incentives
"With Dennis comes a lot of baggage," Michael Jordan
said. "We just have to carry it and we have to accept it."
And wait to see what stunt Rodman will pull next.
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