Dennis Rodman’s Excellent Adventure: Rehab

rodmanDennis Rodman brings to mind the film Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, in which Rufus speaks a monologue: “If I should fail to keep these two along the correct path, the basis of our society will be endangered. Ah, but don’t worry: it’ll all make sense. I’m a professional.”

Rufus’s statement seems to be reminiscent of Rodman’s explanation for his most recent trip to North Korea.

The former basketball great has been embroiled in many a controversy. His most recent was a puzzling escapade in North Korea which has drawn ire from around the world. Now a surprise check in to rehab has put this story on its head.

Citing his trip to the hermit kingdom as cause of the sudden ignition of his long-standing alcoholism, Rodman began his rehabilitation in an undisclosed center in New Jersey on Wednesday.

This is not Rodman’s first adventure to North Korea, nor his first time in rehab. His well-documented alcoholism has landed him in rehab many times, including stints on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and at Sober House. Despite all that, he has traveled to North Korea three times since his first trip with Vice Media and the Harlem Globe Trotters in February 2013. This latest incident is the first time his alcoholism has flared up from a visit to North Korea.

Dennis Rodman returned from his trip to North Korea in rough shape emotionally, according to his agent Darren Prince. Prince explained that Rodman was under pressure because he was expected by his fans to be both an extraordinary political figure and a fixer, and that the stress got the better of Rodman.

With a crack team of former NBA stars, Rodman’s most recent and most excellent adventure’s highlight was a basketball game in honor of Kim Jong-un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, who Rodman himself described as “his best friend.” This, along with his off-the-cuff remarks, led to harsh criticism of the trip.

One of the criticisms of Rodman was particularly for his lack of willingness to help free American detainee Kenneth Bae. Bae, a missionary with health concerns, has been imprisoned in North Korea since April, and is accused of trying to overthrow the North Korean government as well as other “political crimes.” Other critics have pointed to human rights violations and the generally psychopathic nature of the Jong-un regime while denouncing Rodman, suggesting that his trips have done nothing but prop up and legitimize the government.

Another accusation against Rodman was that the North Korean government was paying him off specifically to entertain Kim Jong-un and his goons with a basketball game. Rodman has aggressively denied these claims, as have various teammates. Nonetheless, Rodman did give an extra performance, paycheck or not. To a crowd of “14,000 people and hundreds of millions around the world,”  he sang happy birthday to his dictator buddy.

Regardless of political consequences or intentions, it is clear the criticisms are taking a physical and mental toll on Rodman. The self-described bad boy is “embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused,” and that “his drinking escalated to a level that none of us had seen before,” as Prince further related.

Whatever the next chapter is, one thing is more than likely to be true: rehab will not be the last of Dennis Rodman’s Excellent Adventures.

By Brett Byers-Lane

Sporting News