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Dennis Rodman's Hall of Fame Speech August 14, 2011

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Dennis Rodman makes an emotional speech at his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in front of colleagues, friends and family.

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Now, hold on. Wowza. Sorry, Scottie, sorry. Now I think um, um, wow. I'll just thank all these people first before I get to the major part of this situation. I'd like to thank my College Coach Ron Weissman, um, the Rich family, they had a tragedy in their family, um, a week ago their oldest son died of a heart attack and thats the family that raised me in Oklahoma and Im sorry I couldnt be there. I'd like to thank Frank from (inaudible), great friend, thank you. Um, Peggy King, Elton King, the family, these guys are taking care of me these days, thank you, Peggy. Steve Simon, Darren Prince the guys that manage me and keep me out of trouble everyday. Nicki C, Austin (inaudible). Penny Marshall, shes here, where you at Penny? There she is, right there. There she is right there. Shes doing my documentary, I hope I be be living by then so, (inaudible) on us. I wanna thank Dwight Malley who has been a great friend for years and years, thank you Dwight. Big Will, Flora (inaudible), George Tratavelo great friend, ah, my bull team-mates; John Ginopolis, Pete Ginopolis, his dad, senior, um, that pretty much covers everybody, doesn't it?

Um, but um, I want to get to the bulk of my playing days. It wasn't Dennis Rodman [stops overcome by tears; crying]. It wasn't me that... I didn't play the game for the money. I didn't play the game for - to be famous. What you see here is more just an illusion that I love to just be an individual that is very colorful. Uh, there's a lot of people that I'd like to thank, and I'm gonna thank them in a minute. But I'd like to thank uh, David Stern - you know the NBA, um, community to even just have me in the building (crying; laughing). Sorry about that... but uh, this game has been very good to me. Um, uh, you know I could have been anywhere in the world - I could have been dead, I could have been a drug dealer, I could have been homeless - I was homeless. And a lot of you guys here that's been here - a lot of you guys that's here that's in the Hall of Fame know what I'm talking about living in The Projects and trying to get out of The Projects. And um, I did that. But it took a lot of hard work and a lot of bumps along the road, but I'd like to talk about four individuals that have really been an impact on my life. I'm talking about male figures. I never had a father. My father left me when I was um, five years old. He has 47 kids in the Philippines and I'm the oldest one and uh... He wrote a book about me in Chicago and uh he made a lot of money but he never came and said hello to me. But that didn't stop me from persevering. But these four guys I'm going to talk about very shortly - Phil Jackson, Jerry Buss, James Rich, Chuck Daley - those four guys man I mean; if (inaudible) might have a mentor or a father or someone you can look up to - you can call any time of day; need a shoulder to cry on, a hand to shake or just speak your mind and you know - these four guys, if you cremated these four guys and you made them into one, they're pretty much a perfect individual. And uh no matter what those four sees into me - you know I can be the good guy, the bad guy, the emotional guy, the sad guy - no matter what these guys always came to talk to me and shook my hand. It wasn't about Dennis Rodman the flamboyant - it wasn't about that. It was about that they looked at the individual that had a good heart, but very emotional...

And I want to talk about two other people: Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan. I swear to God... I...you know, I might be down-playing Isaiah and Joe Dumars, but Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan, I mean two duos, probably the best two players to ever play the game, I think, as one team. As one team. And you know, this guy here - Phil Jackson asked me to come to Jerry Crosses' house and he asked me "you know Dennis, we'd like you to come play, but you gotta do one thing for me - could you go in the kitchen and tell Scottie Pippen you're sorry?" And I said, you know what, I'll do that. And he asked me another question, he said uh, "Scottie Pippen would you like to be a Chicago Bull?" And my exact words were "I don't give a damn." And Phil Jackson said, "welcome to the Chicago Bulls." (laughter)

And uh, I'm gonna end this up in the next minute and a half. But uh, I try to see these five people here that are in my life that are very important. Um, my wife there Michelle has put up with a lot of crap from me - and I'm being honest - a lot of crap from me. I just, you know, I haven't been a great father, I haven't been a great husband. You know, I can't lie about that. But she's tolerated everything from me for 11 years and she's raised two beautiful kids - I mean three beautiful kids; you know DJ with the hat on, Trinity right there and Tiana right there. And she's been a mother and a father. And I've been very much appreciative of what she's done. And I just wish, I wish - they ask any regrets in your career being a basketball player - and I have one regret, I said 'I wish I had been a better father.' That's why I was talking to my - Phil Jackson, Jerry Butts, Frank Eugenie for letting me show your Dad what, thank you...

Last but not least, my mother Shirley Rodman. (applause) Now I would love to set the record straight and I'm sorry that it has to be up on this main stage here. Me and my mother have never gotten along. And I was a very good kid when I was young, but once I became today, 16 to 18, 19, 20 and I could care less what I did to my mother. And my mother worked three jobs and she kicked me out the house and said "you have to leave here because I can't take you anymore." And I resented her for a long time. And it's, it's hard for me to even say this because my mother rarely ever hugged me or hugged my siblings - she didn't know how. But um, she managed, she managed, she worked her ass off. And I'm not like most of you guys, sit there and say, 'when I make money in the NBA I'm gonna take care of my mother and father.' You know, I was a little selfish for that. You know because what she did to me in my life, but you know as I got older things changed. You know, I haven't been a great son to you at all the last ten years - and you know that - and we can laugh about this. But uh, I haven't been a great son. That's why I got these guys here - those four guys, you know, you know, times are tough, they're there. And this man here (referencing Phil Jackson) I can hug him because he's the only man who ever cried for me, you know because I was really burning both ends of the candle for a long time - that's the reason I say I'm surprised that I'm still here. And everyone knows that.

But uh, I'd like to set the record straight just for the time being. And maybe, hopefully that in the future that I can actually try to be somewhat of a good individual and a good father to my kids. And that hopefully I can love you like I used to when I was born. And uh, thank you guys.

Courtesy of Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

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