Home Monthly Observances Black History Month Black History NJ: Dennis Rodman

Black History NJ: Dennis Rodman

Dennis Keith Rodman was born on May 13, 1961 in Trenton, NJ. His father, Philander Rodman, Jr., walked out on the family when his oldest child was 5 years old. After his father left, his mother Shirley took up a number of odd jobs in order to support the family; sometimes four at a time.

Rodman, as well as his mother and two sisters, Kim and Debra, grew up in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Texas, which was one of the more impoverished parts of the city at that time. He was admittedly a momma’s boy, but claims he felt “overwhelmed” by his all-female household. His sisters were actually the ones who possessed the notable basketball skills growing up; both became All-Americans at Louisiana Tech and Stephen F. Austin. In fact, Rodman has stated that he was not very athletic growing up, admitting that he was “unable to hit a layup” and would try out for the basketball teams, but either be benched or cut.

Early Career

Post-high school, while working as a janitor at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, Rodman experienced a sudden growth spurt and decided to give basketball another try. He first attended Cooke County College (now North Central Texas College) in Gainesville, Texas and averaged 17.6 points a game. He then transferred to Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he became a three-time NAIA All-American. During his summers at college, Rodman worked at a youth basketball camp.

Dennis RodmanAfter college, Dennis Rodman was drafted in the third round by the Detroit Pistons, and had a fantastic career with the organization. He went on to play with the San Antonio Spurs in 1993, the Chicago Bulls in 1995, the Los Angeles Lakers briefly in 1998, and the Dallas Mavericks briefly in 1999, before finally retiring.

Rodman juggled a number of difficulties growing up, but never gave up. He surpassed countless people’s expectations, and became an outstanding basketball player. He enjoyed an eventful career in film and sports after his retirement from basketball; though he hasn’t been very active since 2014 (when he entered rehab for alcohol abuse treatment).

To continue reading more Black History NJ stories, click here to get the complete series.


Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Dunkman827 / YouTube
Additional Image Courtesy: Wikipedia