Once the bizarre, technicolored court jester of the NBA, Dennis Rodman has been out of the spotlight for quite some time.
No wild wedding dress photo shoots, no new hairstyles — only the occasional autobiography (he has published two) and his August induction into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame have kept Rodman on the radar.
But this week, Rodman is back in headlines for a very different reason.
The 50-year-old owes more than $800,000 in back child support for two children he had with his third wife, Michelle Rodman, in addition to $51,000 in spousal support, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Rodman must appear in court in Orange County, Calif., and faces 20 days in jail, according to court documents. On Tuesday his sentencing was moved to May 29 pending a court decision. The sentence could be reduced to community service.
But according to Rodman’s attorney, Linnea Willis, the five-time NBA champion cannot pay up because he’s broke. And an alcoholic.
“In all honesty, Dennis, although a very sweet person, is an alcoholic,” said Peggy Williams, Rodman’s finance manager, who has loaned her client money for past child support payments. “His sickness impacts his ability to get work. This case, especially his wife filing for divorce, has put him on a binge that I have never seen before. He is extremely hurt and extremely sick. He is often unable to obtain work because of the sickness. And his sickness is getting increasingly worse.”
“Dennis cannot afford his own monthly expenses. If the court awards attorney fees, it is setting Dennis up to be in contempt because you cannot get blood from a turnip.”
Rodman’s third wife disputes the claim that he is, in fact, a turnip. Her attorney claims Rodman flies all over the world hosting nightclub parties, and therefore, is not destitute. His extravagant lifestyle in the years since his retirement from the NBA have been well documented, from the 47-foot speedboat he named Sexual Chocolate, to an illegal helicopter beach landing at his 40th birthday party, to the Ford 350 pickup with his self-portrait on the hood to numerous complaints of loud parties at his Newport Beach home.
According to Orange County court documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Rodman still owes $350,000 in back taxes after withdrawing his NBA pension to pay off previous debts.