A couple of weeks ago, I was visiting with some friends and the name Dennis Rodman came up. I got to know Dennis Rodman during the time that he was playing professional basketball for the Chicago Bulls.
He was inducted into the National Basketball Association Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011. His acceptance speech is still available online and I have watched it several times. Rodman is a very complicated person; I learned that firsthand.
Several years ago, I owned a small business and also worked part-time for a charter bus company. I mostly drove local charters. I drove city tours, Eli Lilly & Company charters and several NBA teams when they came in to play against the Pacers.
One of the teams that I worked with was the Chicago Bulls. It was fun getting to meet and work with the players, coaches and their support staff.
One morning when I picked up the team from their hotel to take them to Market Square Arena for practice, a trainer asked if it would be possible for me to drive Dennis Rodman to the IUPUI Physical Fitness Center. I checked and my boss said it would be fine.
Dennis climbed aboard and we were on our way. I drove to the address that I was provided and there wasn’t any sort of building in the entire block. All I saw was a large parking lot. I drove around a second time thinking that I must have missed something. Same results. I made a larger loop around a couple of blocks. Nothing!
I figured that I would try the area of the campus that I was thinking the fitness center was once located. All this time, Rodman had been silent. When I turned onto University Boulevard and closed in on where I thought I remembered it being located, I heard him say, “There you go. That’s it.”
As I pulled up to the entrance, I asked why he hadn’t said anything while I was driving around confused and wasting time. He said that he didn’t think it would be very polite. He asked me how he was supposed to get back to the hotel.
I told him that I would stay and drive him back. He smiled and thanked me quietly. I was amazed that he always addressed me as “sir” when we were talking. It took quite a while to find a parking place for a 40-foot charter coach.
About an hour later, Dennis and two physical trainers came walking toward the bus. The three of them got aboard and explained that it was lunch time and asked if I could take them to a restaurant in Union Station for lunch.
Rodman had thanked me several times for driving him to his appointment. Now he was insisting that I find another place to park the bus and join them for lunch. I tried explaining that it would probably be impossible to find a place to park that bus near Union Station and it wasn’t necessary for me to join them for lunch.
Dennis insisted. I was able to find a secure parking place for the bus and had an interesting and exciting lunch with them.
That day I learned there were two very different Dennis Rodmans, one who put on a big loud show and the quiet, polite one that became my friend.
I just watched Dennis Rodman’s acceptance speech again. It’s special to see both “wild Dennis” and quiet polite Dennis in that video.