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Bad-boy basketball star Dennis Rodman slam dunks into Tokyo

38 Comments
By Fred Varcoe

Curious that some people don’t actually remember Dennis Rodman. How high-profile can you get? OK, Michael Jordan is at the top of the NBA tree, with a host of others (Wilt Chamberlain, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, etc, etc) almost up there with him.

But Rodman – Jordan’s Chicago Bulls teammate for five years – is arguably next on the list. He is probably the most visible, perhaps the most risible – he wrote the book on body decorations and partying – but undoubtedly totally unforgettable. So when he makes an appearance in Japan in August, you can be guaranteed he’ll attract a lot of fans who do remember him and, it goes without saying, a truckload of publicity.

Rodman is coming to Japan to appear in STREET 2ELITE, a street basketball contest at Ariake Colosseum on Aug 19 (there's also a game in Osaka on Aug 17) that will pit the best of Japan against the pick of the USA. He will be accompanied by another former NBA player, Tracy Murray, a three-point specialist who once scored 50 points for the Washington Wizards against the Golden State Warriors. The Japan team was decided in a championship game on July 3.

For the STREET 2ELITE games, the basketball will be 5-on-5 on a full court with two baskets. Scoring will be as per regular basketball games (2 points, 3 points, 1-point free throws). As with most events of this kind, the action will be accompanied by plenty of music with an MC and DJ, and there will be a halftime show. Rodman and Murray will both be playing for the U.S. team – along with a bunch of other American players – and Rodman will select the MVP from the Japanese side.

A spokesman for organizers Sports Biz says it’s a whole new ball game for Japan. “There have been similar tours of countries in Europe, but as far as I am aware, the mixing of former NBA players and street basketball players is a new format for an event in Japan.” The spokesman says the Japan players are sourced from the many events around the country and that street basketball is becoming popular in Japan, in part because of the dazzling dribbling and dunks, but also because of the music and other activities that are mixed with the sport.

“The entertainment, music and fashion aspects are really important,” the spokesman says. “These events are more than just sports events. The audiences come not only to enjoy the spectacular performances of the athletes, but also to enjoy an atmosphere that is in tune with their lifestyle and which they are more used to. It’s been big in the U.S. for some time, but now it’s growing in Japan. Almost everyone in Japan has played basketball because it’s part of the educational program in elementary school, so we are very familiar with the sport, and the pro basketball league has been growing year by year.”

Like the NFL, NHL and major leagues, the NBA has also played regular-season games in Japan, and the likes of local stars Yuta Tabuse and Kei Igarashi have helped boost the game here. The basketball boom all started, according to the Sports Biz spokesman, with the legendary Chicago Bulls team of the late 1990s, of which Rodman was a member.

"In Japan, Rodman is one of the most famous NBA players of all time," the spokesman points out, "mainly because he played for the Chicago Bulls during their golden era with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen when they did the three-peat. His book, 'Bad As I Wanna Be,'was a big seller in Japan."

In addition, Rodman is said to have been the model of Hanamichi Sakuragi, the main character in the popular comic "SLAM DUNK."

That fits Rodman perfectly. While always being a supreme athlete on the court, he was little more than a comic character off-court. He was a five-time NBA champion (twice with the Detroit Pistons, three times with the Bulls) and led the league in rebounds for seven straight years (1992-98).

Rodman’s personal life has been one of extreme individuality (tattoos, piercings, freaky hair styles); along the way, he dated Madonna and married Carmen Electra, so he ain’t stupid. But despite dalliances as an actor, DJ and pro wrestler, he’s still a basketball man at heart, and the more flamboyant style of street basketball should suit him perfectly.

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.


38 Comments
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How great would it be if this inspired more public b-ball courts to be built here? So many kids with no particular place outdoors to let off steam, free from school-ruled "clubs". Kudos to Dennis & Tracy for helping to promote this idea.

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along the way, he dated Madonna and married Carmen Electra, so he ain’t stupid.

Are we sure about that?

Ever since I was a kid, I've thought he was kind of gross... but good for him. Yay for street basketball!

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yes, more public b-ball courts WITH nets, please. Are you listening, Santa? I'm not as bad as I wanna be.

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Moron. Nice tatoos (not). Set a nice example for the kids now.

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Cha ching expense tab, this guy knows how to party.

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The Worm ! The greatest rebounder in NBA history. A member of the infamous Detroit Pistons' Bad Boys! When Dennis left the NBA, it lost a very colorful and no-holds-barred athlete. he was great to watch. Best wishes Worm !

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Yes we remember Dennis Rodman to his attempts at movies, but also remember Michal Jordan as well. Both stars to all of us in basketball.

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Well it would be great if there were more courts set up for children, it is a good way for them to interact with others and let off steam like pamelot, said...As for Dennis...not sure what to say...he's just crazy!!!

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another has been milking it in japan...

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@mayhem: Well said.

Rodman’s personal life has been one of extreme individuality (tattoos, piercings, freaky hair styles); along the way, he dated Madonna and married Carmen Electra, so he ain’t stupid.

EXCUSE ME?

Proof of idiocy, if say so.

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Please, no street basketball. It's too crowded here in Tokyo and the thwacking of that ball would drive me nuts. Most of the racket here isn't annoying but that one sure is...sorry!

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i hate the yellow affect in his hair, makes him look like a pacific islander trying to get rid of hair lice he's just rude and crude

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Overpaid idiot in my books. No matter how good you are at something if you're a twit you're a twit.

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He cannot dunk into in an onsen or a sento or a swimming pool with all those tattoos.

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Good for Dennis and good for the kids. Hopefully this would be successful and more kids would get to socialize after school, make friends and grow up with fund memories

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You know he is rude and has little respect for others, but for some reason ppl like him.."some" ppl like him...

I am not sure street basketball is a good option, but a park,with an area for basketball or an indoor court would be great, my kids play basketball a couple times a week, and its good not only for exercise, but helps keep kids out of trouble at times as well, as they are focused on something they like and are not so much just hanging around looking for something to you..more athletic opportunities is always good for anyone, not sure how it is in Japan, but here in the smaller communities we gather up groups of children for basketball or volleyball, we take trips to places around the island in hopes to keep children off the streets, not a 100% effective but it does help tremendously, especially with respect of kids verses adults in some of our neighborhoods, where parents/adults take a part in the children of the community.

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norinrad...have you seen and heard the things that have come from this mans mouth, or do you just know him as a basketball player, he is rude and offensive, I would rather live my life respectfully as a janitor with a husband how hates me,lol..than be a rude man with little respect for women...have you ever watched the show..Dr. Drew???? Celebrity rehab maybe you would change your view a bit!

as for the last portion of your post I agree

Hopefully this would be successful and more kids would get to socialize after school, make friends and grow up with fund memories

but seriously their are better ROLE MODELS out their!

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I remember him appearing in WWF wrestling looking exactly like one of those WWF wrestlers with brain concussion. I guess he likes to show off with his Ugly image, and the funny thing is that some people really like to be able to enjoy looking ugly! A yakuza role model for sure.

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Dennis Rodman, the disciplined NBA bad boy with a lot of heart who was one of the critical reasons for the Chicago Bulls and their Threepeat-Repeat.

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Man I wish I was a fly on the wall during the party he will no doubt have while he is in town.

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'Dennis Rodman, the disciplined NBA bad boy with a lot of heart who was one of the critical reasons for the Chicago Bulls and their Threepeat-Repeat.' Well said Stormcrow. For us B-Ball fans, Dennis was holding down the court there for a while during the Bulls' Three-Repeat when Horace Grant, MJ, Pip were sucking wind. Dennis would play his heart out every game when other players were worried about injuries. The Worm Rules ! If I see him in Tokyo next month, I'll buy him a drink.

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The same attitude that gets him in trouble in his everyday life is the reason he is so admired and respected on the courts.

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rodman was definitely a tenacious rebounder and defender but zilch on the offensive side (well some people might think he was offensive). i can't imagine him doing well in streetball.

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I'm sure the Japanese girls will go crazy over him! Isn't that what they are suppose to do?

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the758, that applies to a lot of people, but the reason they overstay is because they married a local girl who is too scared to adapt to new environments and they guy also sees benefit in staying because he thinks he can score some strange ass on the side. Next thing they realize is that 10 yrs passed and they have no money in the bank and kids only speak Japanese, so they are condemed here in Japan till they graduate and the couple can divorce and he can go back. One of many scenario's.

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Meh. Dennis was a flash in the pan. Once it became about how his tatts looked and what color his hair would be that night, his contributions to his team started to slide.

The best part of Dennis Rodman was that he provided a perfect example of an alien living amongst us in "Men in Black".

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Oh yeah. I forgot to comment on this:

he dated Madonna and married Carmen Electra, so he ain’t stupid.

I was unaware that dating Madonna was a sign of intelligence. And he was "married" to Carmen Electra for all of 4 and a half months. That almost qualifies as a one-night-stand. I'm missing how that proved he isn't stupid.

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@Fadamor, He was a flash in the pan???? 5 NBA rings '89,'90,'96,'97, '98! Flash in the pan? 7 time NBA all-defensive team awards. Flash in the pan? 12,000 NBA rebounds. Drafted '86 - Retired NBA 2000. Nice little flash in the pan 14 year NBA career.

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"I was unaware that dating Madonna ( as Dennis Rodman did ) was a sign of intelligence"

Now you know, ha ha!

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@DamoSuzuki, Yeah. A flash in the pan. Whenever the list of great basketball players is brought up, how often is his name included? Not that often.

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Fadamor, just because he isn't one of the greatest players ever doesn't mean he had a flash in the pan career. You are highly mistaken on that one. He had a long, successful NBA career and was a big part of many championship teams. Hardly flash in the pan.

This coming from a longtime Celtics fan.

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They should be bringing real role models, not ppl like him...that's like bringing a model with anorexia to a group of want to be future models!...What kind of role model is Dennis, do as you please, be rude, screw morals, as long as your good at the game f#ck what ppl think about you, even if it's true? That's the kind of man anyone should want for their kids to look up to!!!

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Dennis is still looking pretty fit.

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Dennis' audaciousness, coupled with his legitimate record, brings inspiration to kids who might have inner doubts, demons, or just plain shyness, to let themselves loose and play some b-ball. His appearance for STREET 2ELITE might bring the stamp of approval for more public courts, and give kids an alternative for their free time...

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Not interested! Call me when Larry Bird comes.

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Your children should certainly be allowed to look up to sports figures. However, it's the PARENTS job to instill intelligence and awareness in their children and act as the kids PRIMARY "role model". That way, when one of these public figures gets their private life unfairly displayed for all the poublic to see. The kids won't be as hurt or shocked because their parents are in their lives constantly teaching and guiding. Also kids need to be made to recgonize that nobody is perfect, even their hypocrite parents.

For example: My 8 yr old likes Kobe Bryant and thinks he is a great basektball player for our hometown Los Angeles Lakers. Had my son been old enough to comprehend Kobe's adultry issue a few years ago, I would have explained to him that while Kobe is a great player and a role model on the court he should not be judged by what his private life entails.

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I got mad respect for Rodman, but I didn't like how the Detroit Bad Boys Pistons tried to physically hurt MJ whenever he'd take the ball to the hoop - hard. They just couldn't stop him without trying to put him out of the game. The Jordan Rules!!

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Awesome Rodman is coming to Japan. He's one of the best NBA players of all time.

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