Say these things for Dennis Rodman: He likes going to North Korea, and likes bringing a bit of a side show with him.
Last year, it was the Harlem Globetrotters.
This year, it’s, well, should we call them the Rodmaneers?
Some of the six former NBA players who accompanied Rodman on this trip with plans for a game against North Korean players on Wednesday – the day believed to be the birthday of the nation’s leader, Kim Jong Un – have what might best be described as colourful pasts, often caused by some major financial difficulties.
There’s a father of seven kids with five different women. The former high school coach who was fired after driving under the influence. The guy who once owned 10 cars and spent $75,000 a year on insurance alone before declaring bankruptcy.
And that’s all referring to Kenny Anderson.
Cliff Robinson, Vin Baker, Sleepy Floyd, Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith have also joined Rodman.
What they’re making on this trip is a mystery. Security is said to be provided by the North Korean Olympic Committee, which has guaranteed the `Rod-men’ safe passage in and out of the nation.
Among them is Anderson. It’s believed he made about $US65 million in NBA salary, but even that couldn’t keep him from bankruptcy and other financial issues.
Baker lost his mansion and his restaurant, along with much of the $US100 million he made as an NBA star, but says he’s comfortable these days and is devoting much of his life to ministry.
Baker has struggled with alcoholism and depression in the past, was charged with drunken driving in 2007, and the off-court issues make it easy to forget that he helped the US win Olympic gold in 2000.
Floyd counsels troubled people, works in ministry, has successful business dealings and started a financial management company after retiring.
Christie and his wife throw themselves weddings – not anniversary parties, but weddings – every year.
Christie spent parts of 15 seasons in the NBA and still probably doesn’t have the fan base that his wife Jackie has from her work on, among other things, the reality TV show “Basketball Wives.”
The couple are producing (though not starring in) adult films.
Robinson made roughly $US61 million in NBA salary but went through bankruptcy in recent years.
Smith is a former executive director of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, getting ousted in 2010.
Like Floyd, he’s had a busy business life after basketball, says he wouldn’t mind meeting the North Korean leader who Rodman calls “the marshal” on this trip and can’t wait to sit down with that nation’s players to answer life about the US.
“A little courage, a little faith is involved here,” Smith said.