Dennis Rodman says visits to gay clubs inspired him during his NBA career
Dennis Rodman says visits to gay and drag clubs helped inspire him during a career that ended with five NBA titles and a place in the basketball hall of fame.
After winning two NBA titles with the Detroit Pistons, Rodman says he hit a low and considered taking his own life in 1993 after the departure of the team’s coach, Chuck Daly, who he saw as a father figure.
A move to the San Antonio Spurs helped and he says it was there that he was helped by meeting people living on their own terms.
“In San Antonio I started going to gay clubs,” he told GQ in an interview published online on Thursday. “I started going to drag clubs. I started bringing drag queens to games.”
He added: “When you talk to people in the gay community, someone who does drag, something like that, they’re so fucking happy. They hold their head up so high every fucking day, man. They’re not ashamed of shit. They’re not trying to prove anything, they’re just out there living their lives.”
Rodman would often attend events in drag himself, and he told GQ that his experiences in San Antonio helped him remember a time when his sisters would dress him in their clothes when he was a boy.
“I guess it kind of made me have a sense of awareness of, like, man, I used to dress like this as a kid,” he said. “Wearing a dress made me feel good. You know?”
Rodman was thrust into the public spotlight again in 2020 as part of the wildly popular Netflix series, The Last Dance, which profiled Michael Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls. Rodman told GQ he always felt he was a sharp contrast to Jordan.
“You got the greatest basketball player on the planet [Jordan], the second greatest in Scottie Pippen, and then you got [me] the devil,” he said.
Rodman told GQ he is still friends with the leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. He was famously mentioned as a broker between Kim and Donald Trump in the lead-up to their summit in 2018. He told GQ that he did not know about civil rights abuses in North Korea until he first visited. “I thought it was like, well, North Korea, I’m going over there to sign autographs and stuff like that, take pictures,” he said of his visit, which came about due to Kim’s love of the Bulls. “I didn’t know it was all that until I got over there. I was like, ‘Oh, shit.’ Nobody prepared me for that.”