But the October 1995 trade that sent Rodman from San Antonio to the highly visible Bulls and their liberal-minded coach, Phil Jackson, helped change Rodman's mind-set and his fortunes. Rodman's next big break came when Manley made a deal with Delacorte Press to publish Rodman's autobiography Bad As I Wanna Be, which has sold more than 800,000 copies.
Last summer Rodman costarred with Jean-Claude Van Damme in the action feature Double Team, scheduled to be released this week. That, plus several fast-food restaurant ads, a pact with Kodak (which made Rodman the company's first spokesperson since Bill Cosby) and other deals brought Rodman's 1996 nonbasketball income to $9 million.
Most of these deals, including one that Rodman and Manley recently made with the World Wrestling Federation to appear in matches this summer, wouldn't have come about if Rodman hadn't re-signed with the Bulls after last season. Rodman was demanding $10 million, several million more than the Bulls were offering. By this time he had parted company with his previous agent, Bill Pollak, and replaced him with Manley. Seeing almost any other city as a Waterloo for Rodman's endorsement potential, Manley faced off with Chicago management and got Rodman a one-year deal worth $9 million, a considerable boost from his 1995-96 salary of $2.5 million.
"That wasn't pressure," Manley says of negotiating Rodman's deal with the Bulls. "Pressure is buying a $5 million coin collection and having to sell it for profit when you don't even have $1 million in the bank in the first place."
Manley learned a new definition of pressure this winter after Rodman's most foolhardy act to date—kicking a courtside cameraman in Minneapolis on Jan. 15. "The repercussions of anything he'd done before were a pittance compared to what was at stake this time," Manley says.
He wasn't referring to the 11-game suspension or $25, (KK) fine levied by NBA commissioner David Stern. A meeting with Converse CEO Glenn Rupp to sign a $2 million contract had been scheduled in Chicago for what turned out to be the day after the kicking incident. The victim, Eugene Amos, was pressing charges of battery, and there was no guarantee that the NBA would even allow Rodman to play again. Rupp was now wavering on the deal. "I need to see how this plays out," he told Manley. "I thought we were done," Manley says.
He pressed for a quick fix to avoid the publicity of a trial, and when Rodman reached a settlement with Amos—who ended up with $200,000 of Rodman's money—the charges were dropped and everything fell into place. Rodman was allowed to rejoin the Bulls after the All-Star break—though an injury to his left knee on March 25 sidelined him for the rest of the regular season—and the Converse deal was finalized. "They say that if life slices you lemons, you should make lemonade," Manley says. "We made lemon meringue pie."