Former NBA champ, rebounding expert Dennis Rodman writes book for children


rodman-bookChicago Bulls’ fans won’t soon forget the exploits of Michael Jordan and company as the team blew through the NBA playoffs and fought their way to six world championships throughout the 1990s.

On Saturday, one of the pivotal – and most controversial – players of that era came to Naperville, wearing the unlikely label of children’s book author.

Dennis Rodman appeared at Anderson’s Bookshop before a sold out crowd of fans, many of whom confessed they came more for the chance to see the bad boy in person than because the book seemed so compelling, Naperville Sun reported.

“I collect sports autographs so that’s why I came,” said young McKinley Neville, 11, of Batavia. “I didn’t see him play but I’ve watched a number of YouTube highlights of him and he seems like he’s a pretty good guy, even if he was a little crazy off the court.”

Rodman appeared about a half hour later than scheduled wearing a gray sports coat and scarf, along with sunglasses and a baseball cap with “Chicago” emblazoned across the front, while sporting green fingernail polish.

He offered no comments to the crowd before taking his seat, but more than 300 fans had already packed the aisles of the store, poised with cameras of their own as well as copies of his children’s book, “Dennis the Wild Bull.”

Candice Purdom, who handles publicity for the store, said all copies were sold out well before the event.

We ordered 250 copies and they were all sold, but we understand Dennis will be bringing a few extra along,” Purdom said. “People have been calling us all morning asking to buy them, and fans began living up two hours before the event.”

One of the earliest to arrive was Gloria Fernandez of Plainfield, who came with her 7-year-old son Ethan and 6-year-old daughter Emelie. Fernandez said she arrived at 11:30 Saturday morning and proclaimed herself “a big fan.”

“We’re really here more because of me, and when I posted on Facebook this morning that I was coming, people couldn’t believe Dennis Rodman wrote a children’s book,” Fernandez said.

“Dennis the Wild Bull” was written by Rodman with Dustin Warburton, who reached out to illustrator Dan Monroe, who was also on hand Saturday. Monroe said he was asked if he’d be interested in working with Rodman and that he immediately jumped at the opportunity. Monroe said there are many facets to Rodman’s character many don’t know.

“He’s definitely a creative person and despite the way he comes across with his hair and the way he dresses, he can be very down to earth,” Monroe said. “Like any artist, he may have a flamboyant attitude, but I see this as just part of his persona. He’s not trying to be a maverick. It’s just who he is.”

rodman-book-2Jonathan Pierson, who said he grew up in Naperville, came from his current home in Rolling Meadows and admitted that he found Rodman becoming a children’s author “to be a little weird.”

“I love the energy he brought to games and he certainly played a big role in the years the Bulls won,” Pierson said. “I did look at the book, and think that the message will resonate with kids.”

One of those who seemed to travel the farthest Saturday was Jeff Dewey of Freeport, whose fandom for the Bulls in general seemed to trump any other reason for coming.

“I’m a huge Bulls’ fan and I respect him for what he did, and he added a lot of flair,” Dewey said about Rodman. “The guy was a defensive phenomenon who would get in there and throw elbows and liked the game as it was then. I’m not sure why he chose to write a book. Maybe he was looking for an additional income route. But in the end, everybody loves kids when you get right down to it.”

Rodman said the book teaches kids that it’s OK to be different and that they will be accepted, as he was by teammates in Detroit in Chicago while winning five championships, according to Fox News.

And Rodman, whose previous works include titles such as “Bad as I Wanna Be” and “I Should Be Dead by Now,” laughs at the notion of himself as a children’s author, saying that “to write a children’s book with all the wild things I do and make it believable was pretty much incredible.”

Rodman played in 911 NBA games (573 started), averaging 7.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. He had his best rebounding season with the Detroit Pistons in 91-92, when he led the league in rebounds per game, with 18.7 rpg.

Rodman was a two-time All-Star, and won the “Defensive Player of the Year” award twice, in 89-90 and 90-91. He led the NBA in rebounds per game 7 times.

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