Who is Dennis Rodman? What The Last Dance star did in Las Vegas and details of friendship with Kim Jong Un

Rodman has returned to the spotlight in The Last Dance following his infamous Las Vegas vacation

Dennis Rodman

Netflix’s hit The Last Dance has shone a light on Michael Jordan and the legendary ’90s Chicago Bulls stars in recent weeks.

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The docuseries has transcended sport with social media buzzing about the show, in particular, the life and antics of Dennis Rodman.

One of the NBA’s most divisive characters, Rodman plays a starring role in one episode as he demands a mid-season vacation to recharge, destress and prepare to go again.

He chose Las Vegas.

Who is Dennis Rodman?

Rodman was a superb defensive player in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons – a team whose physicality and aggression generated a seismic rivalry with Jordan’s Bulls.

Several years later, the Bulls picked up Rodman and he slotted in to become a huge influence on the team alongside Jordan and Scottie Pippen.

Dennis Rodman of the Chicago Bulls leans on the scorers table as he waits to come into the game against the Utah Jazz 10 June in game four of the NBA Finals at the United Center in Chicago, IL. Rodman hit four free throws down the stretch to lead the Bulls as they beat the Jazz 86-82 to lead the best-of-seven series 3-1. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo by JEFF HAYNES / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
Dennis Rodman of the Chicago Bulls leans on the scorers table as he waits to come into the game against the Utah Jazz 10 June in game four of the NBA Finals at the United Center in Chicago, IL. Rodman hit four free throws down the stretch to lead the Bulls as they beat the Jazz 86-82 to lead the best-of-seven series 3-1. AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo by JEFF HAYNES / AFP) (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)

He was renowned for his fierce showdowns with opponents, getting in their faces and intimidating anyone he had to in order to win. Rodman was a true cult hero, a maverick superstar whose flamboyant personality extended beyond the court.

The New Jersey-born star was briefly married to American model and actress Carmen Electra and dated Madonna during the run of the show, while his garish hairstyles and outlandish style choices made him a top target for the US media to follow.

Now, how about that holiday?

What did Dennis Rodman do in Las Vegas?

Jordan protested coach Phil Jackson’s decision to let Rodman leave Chicago for ’48 hours’. He said: “You let him go on vacation, we’re not going to see him. You let him go to Vegas, and we’re definitely not going to see him.”

Rodman’s request was approved.

In the words of then-girlfriend Electra, who features in The Last Dance: “It was on, the party was starting right away. We’d go to his favourite restaurant, then we’d go to a night club, then we’d go to after hours, it didn’t stop.”

The 48-hour deadline came and passed, leaving Jordan with the task of personally flying out to Vegas in a bid to hunt down Rodman.

Jordan found his team-mate and dragged him from his bed with Electra back to Chicago where he settled back into the team and hit the ground running.

It wasn’t Rodman’s only night in Vegas, as stories emerged of him partying with Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins on an off-night during the 1997 NBA Finals. According to the singer, he spent just eight hours in Vegas before reportedly flying back to Utah.

This is just one reaction to the scenes in The Last Dance. “I knew about everything else but not that. I didn’t know that you could do that. I didn’t know that you could go up to your coach and be like, ‘Hey, I need a vacation’.”

That quote comes from a young Washington State basketball player.

Yep. DJ Rodman, son of Dennis.

Is Dennis Rodman a friend of Kim Jong Un?

Since his NBA glory days, Rodman has maintained his… vibrant image having featured on a range of reality TV shows and celebrity game shows. Amazingly, he even made three appearances for British Basketball League team Brighton Bears in 2006.

But that’s only the tip of the iceberg for his post-career antics.

In 2013, he was hired by a gambling firm to arrive at the Vatican City during the voting process for the selection of the new pope, and was the centre of a controversial film documenting a trip to North Korea.

Dennis Rodman

Rodman has made several trips to the North Korea at the request of Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un – reportedly a huge fan of the NBA and Chicago Bulls.

He was pictured hugging Kim and told him: “You have a friend for life”. Subsequent trips have seen clips emerging of Rodman singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the North Korean leader

Rodman jetted to Singapore in 2018 ahead of the historic summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, and while White House officials stressed he was not invited as an official part of the entourage, Rodman told reporters he was “just happy to be a part of it because I think I deserve it”.

Who else needs a lie-down?

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The Last Dance is streaming now on Netflix – check out our list of the best TV shows on Netflix, or see what else is on with our TV Guide