In February 2013, Dennis Rodman traveled to North Korea as part of a documentary series produced by the media company Vice. Since then, he’s returned to the country five more times on a mission to spread diplomacy through basketball, despite being lambasted by the media. “He thought he was pulling something off historic, where he could open the lines of communication. That’s all this was ever about [to him],” says Darren Prince, Rodman’s longtime manager. “But it got to the point where it became so out of control… I think he almost lost himself in the process. Because it was just mayhem. Each and every time he went back it was bigger than the last.”
Rodman’s best friend Floyd Raglin says the basketball star is profoundly misunderstood. “Everyone thinks he’s this party animal; that all he does is drink and get crazy. But when he’s just around [his friends], he’s quiet. He doesn’t talk! Dennis is shy. That’s what people don’t know.”
Raglin remembers meeting a very different Rodman 25 years ago—a slim guy who kept to himself and didn’t have any tattoos or earrings. “Then all of a sudden he turns into this wild bad boy rock star type of person, you know? He’s like an on/off switch. When you put a camera or a mic on him, it turns him on, but when he’s just around us, we talk about family and real life stuff,” says Raglin.
He continues, “People never see that side of him. All they see is this wild party guy. And yeah, that’s him. But he’s also really shy and emotional. He doesn’t open up to too many people, so not everybody gets to see the real side of Dennis.”
Here, a glimpse into Rodman’s life and career: