D. Rodman: An American Menace?

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“This life is like a swimming pool. You dive into the water, but you can`t see how deep it is”. -Dennis Rodman

Controversy has never been a foreign language when the words “Dennis” and “Rodman” are conjunctively connected in a sentence or a phrase. He is thought to be a combustible element, whose mercury switch is seemingly activated from the slightest of movement or dare I say the slightest of emotional instability. Known for his over the top, flamboyant lifestyle; Dennis Rodman has always been a media magnet on the court, off the court and often times in the court, whether legally or in that of public opinion. What has always been muddied by his flamboyancy and his extroverted personality, is the fact that he is one of the most accomplished athletes of his generation. He is a five time NBA Champion and a two-time NBA Defensive Player Of The Year. He led the NBA in rebounding for seven years and in 2011 he was inducted into the Basketball Hall Of Fame. Unfortunately his donning of a wedding dress in the middle of Manhattan for a book signing and his relationship with the iconic pop legend Madonna, all but made Dennis Rodman a walking, living and breathing Vaudeville act. His tattooed body, along with his piercings, became a revolutionary trend setting precedent for the NBA; as you are pressed to find any NBA player since Dennis'”out of the closet” exposure, who is not “inked up”. Dennis’ polarizing persona has always been a topic that has been hotter than his former sidekick vixen Carmen Electra. But this recent verbal exchange on CNN between him and news anchor Chris Cumo, has taken him from the “swimming pool” into what many are now considering a “drowning pool”. Dennis’ relationship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been under public scrutiny since its inception. Dennis Rodman has been unapologetic about his fond admiration for a man who many in the supposed “Free World” view as an inhumane monster who purportedly violated the human rights of many during his tenured regime. Coupled with the recent ordered execution of his own uncle and the imprisonment of American citizen Kenneth Bae, Kim Jung Un is amidst heavy scrutiny under the bright lights of the world stage. Albeit Dennis Rodman has been a trend setter in the realm of ink to flesh as it pertains to basketball, he is however not the first American to entertain the fantasia of a controversial dictatorial leader. The famous “Rumble In The Jungle” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman was sanctioned under Zaire’s then president and controversial dictator Mobutu Sese Seko. The famous 1936 Berlin Olympics was ran under the watchful eye of Adolph Hitler as its Chancellor. BeyoncĂ© Knowles, Usher Raymond and Mariah Carey, all performed at a concert promotionally funded by Moaamar Gadhafi. Jennifer Lopez performed a Happy Birthday serenade for Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov. All of the fore mentioned singers came under great controversy, to which they responded by suddenly donating their earnings to charity. The point being is that money and power have always resulted in the fervent requester getting what he or she wants. Kim Jung Un was a huge Chicago Bulls fan during the Michael Jordan era. An era which included Dennis Rodman as one of its transcendent stars. I do believe that Kim Jung Un has a great fondness for Dennis Rodman, like any other person would have when hanging out with one of his or her idols (keep in mind Kim Jung Un is only 31 years old). The same could be said about Dennis, who for most of his career has always searched for acceptance without judgement. Friendships are formulated on commonality and manifested thru loyalty, commitment and mutual respect. The relationship should not change based on the opinions of others, if it is indeed genuine and authentic. How many have had friends who they love unconditionally, in spite of them being reviled by others? And as Americans, how do we outwardly protest the actions of Kim Jung Un as it relates to human rights violations, false imprisonment and execution, when we have the dirty laundry of black disenfranchisement, black enslavement and dare I say black genocide to some degree in our own back yards. I have not even touched on the annihilation of the Native Americans to boot. Not to lay this only on Chris Cumo, but he and the other media “assassins” alike, tend to become righteous martyrs for the humanity in other countries and choose to direct their venomous tirades against individuals like Dennis Rodman who make for an easy escape goat for bantering politics, due to him being more emotional than articulate. I ask them why not address the leaders of this country with the same tenacity and take them to task on civil rights violations that happened throughout our country’s history. I was raised that you clean your house before judging the house of others you may visit. The same should apply in this instance as well. We have to be very careful when declaring absolute innocence regarding Kenneth Bae and what led to his imprisonment. We have an entourage of some fifty Americans in North Korea during this Dennis Rodman’s basketball convoy and none of them have been imprisoned or detained during this ambassadorial tour for basketball. Perhaps Dennis has done the one thing that many have yet been able to do, which is make progress with adversary by finding a common ground that does not apply to anything political, but more or less is based on something called mutual respect. To throw in the towel by stating money is his reason for doing this is a lazy answer, because we all do what is necessary to have financial stability. What I find more perplexing is that Kim Jung Un would rather talk to man who dresses like a Cockatoo more so then the world leaders who dress in “proper” attire. Dennis stated “You dive into the water, but you can`t see how deep it is”. Perhaps this is something that the shallow swimmers, as well as, the shallow thinkers can ponder for a minute. Sports bring the world together while politics continue to break the world apart. Once again, Dennis’ accomplishments are overshadowed by his flamboyant nature. It is the one rebound that he has never been successful in securing; his image. #the worm #10 #91

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