Originally created 04/17/99

Dennis Rodman: Hero to has-been in 23 games?



LOS ANGELES -- Is Dennis Rodman a Hollywood has-been?

Since he came to town 23 basketball games ago, he's rallied crowds to a frenzy, split with Carmen Electra, dyed his hair twice, got a side job as a burger pitchman and put sports writers on overtime.

Then, at practice Thursday, he said he lost his shoes and socks. Coach Kurt Rambis sent him home, and the Los Angeles Lakers later cut him from the team. How will the rebounder rebound?

He already has one offer in Los Angeles -- a liaison to rap artists.

Beverly Hills-based Death Row Records, the label for such rappers as the late Tupac Shakur, has offered him a job in their artist relations department, spokeswoman Trece Tiburcio said Friday.

"We would love to have Dennis be a part of our company," she told The AP. "We have had contact with his agency. Our artists seem to relate to Dennis. It would be a perfect match."

And if that falls through?

"Maybe wrestling," laughed Willie Blair as he swept a sidewalk Friday at a downtown YMCA. "I mean, I love Rodman, but he just seemed like he was bored. Maybe he won too many championships. He has just done it all."

Wrestling, though, may not want him.

The Worm has already battled foes in the ring such as Karl Malone and Hulk Hogan. But last year, he sued World Championship Wrestling, saying he was owed millions of dollars from his matches.

Sherrie Spillane, a Los Angeles talent agent who specializes in turning shame into fame, said disgrace seems to benefit Rodman. The Lakers or no, the eccentric Rodman has built up enough capital.

"He's hardly out of a spotlight. He'll get another job," said Spillane, who has represented clients such as Joey Buttafuoco, Tanya Harding and John Wayne Bobbitt.

"Television movies would pick Rodman up in an instant," she said. "He could have a job with them this afternoon. The problem is, will he show up?"

One place he won't show is in advertisements for the Carl's Jr. fast-food chain. It had twice benched the player's commercial for their Super Star hamburger, citing his bad behavior.

The restaurants began re-broadcasting the 2-year-old commercials only two weeks ago, saying Rodman's "local player" status in Los Angeles had once again made him marketable.

But on Friday, officials from the chain's parent company, Anaheim-based CKE Restaurants Inc., said no more commercials would air.

"Now that he is no longer a Laker, we don't have the desire to use the commercial again," spokeswoman Suzi Brown said.

Rodman has so far not speculated on his plans. But he has said the Lakers made him a scapegoat for the team's problems.

Some of his supporters agreed.

Wanda Vazquez, a Lakers fan visiting from Boston, said anybody who wants to work with Rodman should tolerate his quirks.

"People like him. They like his hair, they like watching him," she said in the lobby of the Bonaventure Hotel. "He brought life to the team and he fits in well, if you let him."

If anyone will miss Rodman, it will likely be headline writers who marked his firing with phrases like "Late Worm Gets Hook," "Lakers De-Wormed" and "Lakers, Rodman divorce."

Around Chicago, where he won three championship rings with the Bulls, the headline in the Daily Southtown of suburban Tinely Park read "Lakers to Rodman: No shoes, no socks, no practice -- and no more patience."