Monday, March 17, 2008

More About Dennis Rodman

Yesterday while I was sitting in my dead car for several hours reading the autobiography of NBA star and outrageous iconoclast Dennis Rodman (see previous post for why), I found myself inspired by his story.

He had decided to be his flamboyant self and a pro basketball player at the same time. When his true colors began to show--bleached blonde African-American hair and tattoos, before they were fashionable--he didn't feel he was getting the support of his team and the NBA.

But then Sports Illustrated ran a cover story about him, the photo showing him dressed in leather with one of his fifteen exotic birds on his shoulder. It was the second best selling issue of the year, second only to the swimsuit edition. "That's the kind of thing the league doesn't understand," he wrote in his life story. "Sometimes different is better." In his book, the sentence was not only boldface, it was in CAPITAL LETTERS.

Different isn't good in itself. But when the differences come out of genuine belief and authentic personality and choices, they make an impression that a false self never can.

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Larry Lehmer said...

As one who always thought of Dennis Rodman as pretty much just an eccentric egomaniac, Peggy, your review has inspired me to want to read this book and dig deeper into this undeniably colorful character. Thank you.

Peggy Payne said...

Well, he may very well be an eccentric egomaniac, Larry; the book does suggest that to me as well.

But I think eccentric is valuable, as long as authentic difference, and not a put-on, just for show. Egomania has a lot less to recommend it.

But I do find the man interesting and very gutsy and he was impressively discipined about his work.