Dennis Rodman is an NBA legend in every sense of the phrase, however, he too had to unfortunately experience severe racism growing up.
Rodman made a name for himself in the NBA by being one of the most physical players in the league. His defensive intensity was unmatched, but he was perhaps even better at rebounding the basketball.
He led the league in rebounding seven years in a row, and he was the perfect fit alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on the Chicago Bulls teams that three-peated a second time from 1995-1998. His rugged style of play is what gave him the nickname ‘The Worm.’
OTD (97) Dennis Rodman pulled down 29 rebounds during this 5-game rebounding tear: 24, 25, 13, 29, 27
30+ REB: 5 x
25+ REB: 33 x
20+ REB: 167 x pic.twitter.com/RgRkMsDmjJ
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) December 27, 2020
However, Rodman had to experience several hardships, and dealt with racism, a problem that while it’s lesser than before is still very prevalent in modern day society.
Dennis Rodman Recalls Traumatizing Racist Encounter He Had To Endure
Being an African American in the United States throughout the 20th century was incredibly difficult. Despite the Civil Rights movement which official segregation and the banishment of the ‘Jim Crow laws’, racism still endured throughout the 90s.
It didn’t matter that Rodman was going to grow up to be an incredibly successful NBA player, the fact that he was an African American meant that he was going to treated differently.
Rodman recalled one particularly disturbing situation he had to go through back when he was still in college. Rodman was hanging out with two of his friends, one girl, one guy, both white, when things suddenly got very scary.
Two white guys approached the trio with violent intentions. They would take Rodman and his friends to a park where things would only escalate even more.
According to Rodman, one of the guys started beating him up while another held a shotgun to his face while threatening him to never interact with a white woman ever again. The two also made similar threats to never hang out with an African American like Rodman ever again either.
Rodman spoke up about this, and you can tell how painful the memory is for him through the way he articulates what he went through.
It’s extremely disheartening to hear that anyone would ever have to go through such a heart-wrenching encounter. It’s worrying to think about the way the world was and still is in many ways. The fight against racism still wages on, unfortunately, but things are improving, and the hope is that nobody will ever have to go through what Rodman did.
Of course, that isn’t entirely the case, as eveidenced by some recent incidents, but the NBA community and world at large is coming together in an incredibly supportive manner to make sure we get closer to one day ending the fight against racism altogether.