It was a sight as strange is his many bizarre outfits. Dennis Rodman, one of the most controversial and foul-mouthed players in NBA history, broke down in tears during his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusets today.
Addressing the crowd in a silver coat and matching cowboy hat and a feathered boa draped around his neck, Rodman spent a long minute choking on his tears before he was able to address his gathered fans.
"I didn't play the game for the money," Rodman said, his eyes welling with tears as he paused to force out the next words. "I didn't play to be famous. What you see here is just an illusion; I just love to be an individual that's very colorful."
"I could've been dead; I could've been a drug dealer. I could've been homeless — I was homeless," he said. "A lot of you guys that are in here in the Hall of Fame know what it's like to be in the projects and trying to get out the projects. And I did that. But it took a lot of bumps along the road."
When he spoke of his mother Shirley and his estranged father, who wrote an unauthorized book about him, the address went from emotional thank-you speech to therapy session for the 6'7" baller. "He made a lot of money, but he never came and said hello to me," Rodman said. "But that didn't stop me from persevering. I resented [my mother] for a long time. My mother rarely ever hugged me or hugged my siblings. She didn't know how. But she managed. I wasn't like most players in the NBA who say, 'I'm going to take care of my mother.' I was real selfish, because of things she did to me in my life. But as I got older things changed. I haven't been a great son to you the last [few] years, but now we can laugh about that."
Rodman concluded his thirteen-minute speech by addressing his three children. "If anyone asks if I have any regrets in your career being a basketball player, I say I have one regret: I wish I was a better father," he said tearfully.