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Rodman’s Mom Wonders What All the Fuss is About

June 3, 1996

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ The mother of Dennis Rodman, the baddest dude in the NBA, says she’s proud of her now-blond, tattooed and occasionally cross-dressing son.

But Shirley Rodman says her son could still use a firm hand.

``If he was a kid under my regime, I would be reining him in like mad,″ she told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for Sunday’s editions.

``But he’s not. He’s his own person. I’m just proud that he has learned to speak for himself, because he’s had a lot of personal things that hit him hard, and a lot of people blame his parents for that. I think he’s a wonderful young man.″

Shirley Rodman, who lives in Dallas, said she detects a difference in her son since he joined the Chicago Bulls after two turbulent seasons in San Antonio.

``Everything is going beautiful with him,″ she said. ``You can forget about all of the tattoos and all the hair and look at the person. The person is very happy. If it was in his powers, he would close out his career with the Bulls.

``I’m personally glad that Chicago looked beyond all of Dennis’ outwardly things, and the things people exploited, and saw that he is what they needed on this team.″

Although she understands her son’s disappointment in San Antonio, she didn’t necessarily agree with how he handled his problems with management.

``I wanted him to do it different,″ she said. ``And most people think I have control over him. But he’s 35 years old. The outbursts in San Antonio were because he was calling attention to the fact that they lied to him. Those were Dennis’ words.″

But his outlandish stunts, such as showing up for a signing for his new book, ``As Bad As I Wanna Be,″ dressed as a woman, is simply shrewd marketing, his mother said.

``It didn’t offend me in the least,″ she said. ``It surprised me, but I thought it was funny. But Dennis knows what he’s doing. He’s not stupid. He’s very smart, and he has a lot of savvy about what he’s doing.″

Although Rodman has repeatedly tried to get his mother to retire and live off his money, she maintains her job as an administrative assistant for a plywood and door manufacturing company in Dallas.

``For 10 years, I have fought to maintain my privacy and to lead my life like I’ve always done. It just so happens that I have a son in the NBA,″ she said.

On the marketing ploys, she said:

_ His dress: ``Over the years, Dennis has had the oddest clothes, because he always shopped at the oddest places.″

_ His sexuality: ``I know he’s not gay. The reason he has a lot of gay friends is because they are kind to him and they don’t ask for anything. They’re very down-to-earth, and he’s comfortable with them. When I go out to dinner with him, we don’t get to eat because there are no private moments. But when he goes with the gay friends, they let him be himself and he can enjoy his food.″

_ His book, which is on The New York Times’ bestseller’s list: ``The book is very graphic about his feelings toward things. I have nothing to say about the book because those are Dennis’ thoughts. It’s very explicit. But I don’t fault him for it, because he told it exactly the way it was. I think it was good for Dennis to express his feelings. Thank God that we have the freedom to do that.″

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