Go Immediately To The Nitro Report - (the intro is really long this week...a new record)
CHICAGO (AP) - His overnight trip to Las Vegas after Game 1 wasn't nearly as outrageous as his Mormon bashing last year.
It's been tame stuff for the poster boy for bad behavior. He needed a really good antic, something that screamed Dennis Rodman. And he came through Monday, missing practice and the mandatory NBA Finals media session.
Rodman, who was fined $10,000 by the NBA and probably will be fined by the Chicago Bulls, was seen Monday night with Hulk Hogan attending a wrestling match in Auburn Hills, Mich. He declined to talk to a reporter at the match, staying in a luxury box at The Palace.
He was with World Championship Wrestling president Eric Bischoff and wrestlers Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart and a 7-foot-4, 510-pound grappler billed as the "The Giant,"' who defended Rodman's absence from the Bulls.
"The beautiful thing about Dennis is that he's the epitome of a free spirit," said The Giant, whose real name is Paul Wight II. "If the Bulls try to control him from doing things like this, it would be like cutting off Sampson's hair."
The event was aired on TNT network.
"I talked to Dennis and he did not speak," coach Phil Jackson said. "He said to my assistant trainer he didn't think he could make it down here in time for the press conference. I asked him, 'Dennis, what should I say to the press?' and he hung up on me."'
Only the tattooed and multihued one could top the Chicago Bulls' complete humiliation of the Utah Jazz in Game 3. So what if the Bulls held the Jazz to 54 points, the lowest point total since the inception of the shot clock in 1954? Who cares if Utah looks beat and a sixth title is within Chicago's reach? So what if John Stockton and Karl Malone are getting testy?
None of that matters, not when Rodman is wigging out again.
"It's very frustrating at this time," Scottie Pippen said. "But you don't want to carry that into the next time, you don't want to carry that into the next practice. You want the team chemistry to stay as strong as possible. Especially the situation we're in, we don't want Dennis taking the focus away from the team."
Accepting someone's quirks is one thing, but Rodman brings a whole new meaning to the word eccentric. There's his multicolored hair, now dyed in a fetching, green-and-black camouflage design. There's his landscape of tattoos and pierced body parts.
But more than anything, there's his behavior, which he seems to bring to new lows in the playoffs. Last year, it was Mormon bashing. This year, it's time management.
He waltzes in a half-hour late for home games. He disappears to the locker room early in each half-supposedly to keep his muscles warm - forcing Jackson to send a trainer to fetch him so he can make a grand entrance. A two-day birthday bender left him too pooped to practice in the second round.
And now this.
"We couldn't have a society that acted like Dennis," Jackson said. "There would be nobody having lanes in the freeway, you couldn't queue up anywhere and get in line. You'd have to be disorderly. Dennis is not a normal person in our society, but he's great in what he does here."
Which is why the Bulls are content to let Rodman do his thing and why hey insist he's not a distraction. Jackson didn't even mind when Rodman flew from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas after Game 1, saying, "It's better than him hanging around this town and upsetting some Mormons."
Though he hasn't been spectacular in the playoffs, Rodman has been solid. His mere presence on the floor gives the team a spark, and unlike last year, he's held his own against Malone.
"We don't like it, but we put up with it," Luc Longley said of Rodman's antics.
Besides, it's not like any of this is anything new. Rodman has been acting goofy for years, and the Bulls knew what they were getting when they signed him three years ago.
In fact, his latest one-year contract was designed specifically to make him behave. It has a $4.5 million base - a paltry sum for one of the best rebounders ever - with another $5.95 million in games-played incentives and bonuses.
"With Dennis comes a lot of baggage," Michael Jordan said. "We just have to carry it and we have to accept it."
And wait to see what stunt Rodman will pull next.
"I was at the Nitro in Auburn Hills last night. Here is what happened at the arena.
The ring announcer (Penzer?) gets in the ring before the show and tells us to make lots of noise cause they are filming a commercial for WCW bowling... exciting. He also tells us that the Nitro girls are in NY, but because we are such important fans that they have some Nitro girls here to dance for us. (Kimberly not among them)
The public address system was really bad throughout the show. it was very hard to hear any of the commentary (which was most of the show).
The Wolf Pack was the clear fan favorite portion of the nWo.
After the Piper interview (I don't know if this was on TNT), Piper had his kilt off and was challenging Savage in the ring, this went on for a while until a WCW employee told them to get lost cause they were coming back from commercial.
This show was very bad, there wasn't even a match for the first 1/2 hour. The matches they did have weren't that great.
I've been to WW3 at the Palace and also a house show. Both were much better than this. The only good thing from the show happened AFTER it went off the air... Earlier in the program, when we went to a commercial and the Stinger was still in the ring, he grabbed the mic and said how he really wanted to beat up the Giant and he didn't want to wait till Sunday. So he issued a challenge for tonight. I thought it wouldn't happen cause all this took place during a commercial. Then, later in the show, the ring announcer got back in the ring and said that the Giant accepted the Stinger's challenge and they would fight tonight.
The match actually took place right after the show and it was pretty good. they went back and forth. giant busted out of the Scorpion Deathlock, but later was pinned after a death drop by sting. The fans littered the ring during the match.
Other than that match and the Goldberg match, the rest of the show was useless and boring. there were more 'Let's Go Red Wings!' chants than any other chant. this must have been the substitute chant for 'boring.' since I didn't hear any boring chants the whole night, and the show, in fact, was very boring."
I spoke to Alex Wright and asked him how his brain aneurism situation was going and he rolled his eyes. He said he never had one and it was all Internet rumors. He said it was a major concussion and that he was fully healed. He was also a chick magnet. Girls were around him all night. I guess the chants are wrong...
Mean Gene and the wrestlers were just basically promoting the new WCW toys and stuff. Public Enemy crushed a Hollywood Hogan doll on a table. The doll looks like those old Wrestling Buddies that the WWF had about 10 years ago. The Nitro girls were decked out in silver glitter paint the whole night and we watched them warm up before the event began. Boy, Kym and Fire cannot dance that well. Spice is the obvious leader and was directing all of them through a routine which was not going too well. You'd think they would practice before a half hour before the event starts! The new girl is pretty good. We gave all of them packets of the stickers and tattoos when we got the photos and they seemed really into them.
When Goldberg was on the jumbo screen the entire place stood still and watched. This guy is the most over wrestler going right now. People actually had Goldberg SIGNS at this party! He'd have to have good vision to see those."
Yuji Nagata's Jacket: We were surprised to receive a response to this question. We learned that the back of Yuji's new jacket says "War Spirit" in Japanese characters. We also received another theory...