- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"What I relate to with Dennis," Lucas says, "is that lack of 'big business' skill. He had a problem, and he went about getting it resolved in the wrong way. You end up destroying your own image to make your point. I understand that; I did the same thing with drugs. But this is a straight basketball decision; we filled a void in our rebounding and defense by getting him. I know Dennis likes to do things just to see your reaction. The first day he was here he said, 'What about a dress code?' I told him, 'Just tie your shoes.' "
The Worm's 'do is finally done; 3½ hours of anguish, and now his coif resembles the striping on a skunk. He pays his bill, heedless of the fact that the Spurs' shoot-around, the team's 1993-94 season debut in front of team owners and the public at the sparkling new Alamodome, began 30 minutes ago. "Just some investors," he says, shrugging.
As he leaves the salon, people stop dead in their tracks, stunned by the spectacle. At the Alamodome, Rodman is now 40 minutes late. There is tension in the air as 5,000 fans watch the team run through drills without the one player everyone has come to see. Behind the stands Rodman slowly walks toward the dressing room as team officials try to hurry him along without offending him in any way. A nervously smiling Lucas has already told the questioning local press that Rodman is late because he is new to town and unfamiliar with the city's streets.
Finally, shoes untied, jersey out, a ROD-MAN EXCAVATION baseball cap worn backward over his new golden swatch, Rodman jogs onto the floor to wild cheering and a smattering of boos. His teammates look, uncertain of what to feel.
"Last, but not least," says master of ceremonies David Robinson into the stadium microphone. "He can rebound and play defense almost as well as I can...the Demolition Man...Dennis Rodman!"
The hat comes off for an electrifying moment, then it goes back on. The crowd screeches. Rodman takes the microphone. He looks into the recesses of the cavernous arena, his face blank.
"You can like me or you can hate me," he says. "But all I can say is, when I get on the damn floor, all I'm going to do is get solid." He drops the mike onto the polished wood; that's it for today.
Rodman speaks often of how he has to be free, how he must be himself and how he cannot survive if he finds himself being manipulated by people in positions of power. "If I do something, I can live with it," he says. "But if society makes me do it, it just pisses me off, makes me feel caged." After showering and dressing in his customary sweatpants, T-shirt, construction boots, cap and shades, Rodman walks back out to the court and looks over to where Lucas is speaking engagingly to the two dozen or so team investors who are seated in front of him in the stands.
"Look at him," says Rodman with contempt. "Kissing ass." The player yells toward his coach, "Hey, Luke!" Lucas does not hear him and continues to talk to his audience.
"Hey, Luke!" Rodman yells again. This time Lucas hears him, and he and the investors turn to see what is up.