By C. Patterson
There are times in life where decisions are of the utmost importance: which university
to attend, is this person the right person to marry, will I run like an Olympic sprinter
out of the life of my family? Well the 42 years estranged father of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, Philander Rodman Jr. isn’t so good at decision-making. Although it is pretty fitting that a man with enough children to field an offense and defense of a football
team would be named Philander.
The Air Force pilot and Vietnam War vet is also the father of 28 other children besides “The Worm” from 15 mothers was finally reunited with his famous son after a game between the best Philippine Basketball Association players and the NBA “Alumni” team,
which included Rodman, in Manila. Philander hightailed it to Southeast Asia in December of 1969 when Dennis was at the tender age of eight leaving his family to tough it out in Oak Cliff here in Dallas. In Dennis’ 1997 autobiography Bad as I Wanna Be, he recounted, “I haven’t seen my father in more than 30 years, so what’s there to miss.”
They say there’s nothing all that difficult about becoming a father. The difficulty is remaining one. The elder Rodman wasn’t there to teach his son how to shave, help him with free throws or help him pick out his wedding dress. But he was there at his home in Angeles City, where he owns a bar called Rodman’s Rainbow Obamaburger (seriously),
whoring out his son’s name at every opportunity. On his website his name is signed “Philander Rodman Jr. (Dennis Rodman’s Father)” and he can be found wearing a Chicago Bulls number 91 jersey in most photos even inserting the tagline Dad As I Wanna Be on the bar’s website for good measure. My favorite Philanderism is on the subject of humility. In the photo of his brief reunion with his son Philander is adorned with a baseball cap that read, “Yes, Dennis Rodman is my son.” Classy.
The pater familias of the Rodman clan maintains that six years ago in 2006 he attended the Alumini vs Philippines and Dennis didn’t wish to speak with him at that time. This time however, he got his wish and received three minutes with his son while Dennis was signing autographs. Dennis said, “I don’t hate the guy that brought me into this world… if I saw him, I’ll just tell him, `You know, you’re a friend of mine.’” I’m sure the meeting and media coverage surrounding it will help the bar owner sell more Obamaburgers and Rodman fries than ever before. But did Philander meet Dennis as a father or as a fan? If Dennis were an agent in accounts receivable working in some cubicle rather than a Hall of Fame athlete with a larger than life personality would this 71-yearold failed father care to meet one of the children of whom he abandoned? Probably not. Dennis (who has fatherly responsibility problems of his own) is his trophy, his tattooed and pierce trinket
that he sees that he exploited for the purpose of monetary compensation.
Towards the end of the game in Manila, Dennis approached the microphone and addressed the crowd to acknowledge the presence of his father among them six years after ignoring him in front of them (which Philander was documented in Manila Standard as shouting and cursing at his son for the snub). Philander said of the day, “I really, really felt good,” he said. “It’s the beginning of something new.”
You can hear the cash register at his bar ringing all the way from here.