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In the past two months, he's received more of it than he has in a decade. After North Korea, he was hammered with interview requests. In late March, Newsweek splashed a Buzz Bissinger opinion piece on its e-cover headlined, "Did Dennis Rodman Just Change the World?" Over the next few days, communicating exclusively through Trishy Trish, he abruptly canceled several appointments with New Times. In early April, he called off a late-night meeting at a club in Aventura. Then, Trishy Trish texted New Times to meet him at P.F. Chang's in Aventura at 1:30 p.m., adding in an additional message: "$10,000." That day, she called at 1:05 p.m.
"He won't be coming," she said. "I don't know where we're going, just somewhere else. Dennis' time is very valuable."
There's certainly competition for it. Donald Trump soon came calling for the season finale of Celebrity Apprentice. On an earlier episode of the New York City-based reality TV show, Trump — who shares a close Twitter relationship with Rodman and praises his North Korea trip — described Rodman as a tale of redemption but fired him for misspelling the name of his wife, Melania. (Gigi Peterson, who was then sharing a hotel room with Rodman, said he was devastated after the televised termination.)
In New York, the cameras never stopped. Strutting on the Celebrity Apprentice red carpet, Rodman wore heavy blue eye shadow and a blond Mohawk. Friend Floyd Raglin contends Rodman had talks with Sports Illustrated, which the New York Post reported is planning a cover story about him. According to an article in the Post, an SI reporter planned to shadow him at his 52nd birthday party, which he threw at a strip club called Cheetahs near Times Square.
It's easy to deride such antics as oafish hedonism — and sometimes they are — but there's also a certain genius in them. From winning championships with Jordan to donning a wedding dress at his autobiography's release and traveling to Pyongyang and Vatican City, he's amassed both fortune and relevance just by living out his own strange caricature.
His buddy Flaglin has another explanation. "It's because he's bored. When you've played with the best players, partied with all the stars, made movies, what's there left for him to do?"
Adds Gigi Peterson: "Dennis cannot hide. One time he told me: 'You know why I drink? Because the moment I step out these doors, I have to entertain. And I don't feel like doing it. I'm trapped.'"
It's true, even at obscure South Florida locations where he thinks he's safe — such as Cheetah in Hallandale Beach. At 11:30 p.m. last Tuesday, Rodman emerged from the strip club. A stunning 20-something on his arm giggled while he smoked a cigar. His driver was late, and Rodman grimaced. He wore white Reebok athletic pants and red shoes. His hair was still dyed blond from New York.
A tall man approached him, but the former basketball star declined conversation, instead extending a large paw for a fist bump. "Do your job," Rodman said and turned away.
A taxi approached Cheetah, and Rodman at first thought it was for him. But two venture-capitalist types got out and began laughing. "Dennis, I love you, man," one said. "Can I get your picture?"
Rodman's face tightened, but he acquiesced to two photos. "It doesn't embarrass you, does it?" one of them asked. The two men disappeared into Cheetah but immediately deleted their pictures of Rodman. "He's a private person," one of them said.
Outside, Rodman picked up an orange traffic cone and yelled into it. "Hey, everybody!" he screeched. "This is Cheetah!"
The young woman laughed at the buffoonery, and a black Suburban finally rolled up. "What's up, white guy?" Rodman said to the driver, and climbed into the SUV. Slowly, it pulled out of the parking lot, ascended onto I-95 heading north, and disappeared.
Launce Rake contributed reporting from Las Vegas.