Dennis Rodman on Finding Success by Standing Out (video)
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 3, 2019)
Detroit, MI- “I knew what I had, but I didn’t brand it… I was just being me,” said retired NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman as he shared his philosophy of creativity and success with a crowd of over 1,000 attendees of the Digital Summit Detroit last Thursday.
Dennis “The Worm” Rodman was a “Bad Boy” in the Detroit Pistons from 1986-89, which included two Championships. He was also on on the three-time Championship-winning Chicago Bulls. He retired at the end of the 99-2000 season.
Off the court his life has been full of spotlighted moments. A video before he went on stage showed some of the news footage through the years. Elite Daily has a list of 15 things that includes head-butting a referee, becoming a pro wrestler, dating Madonna and marrying Carmen Electra, wearing a wedding dress to marry himself, and befriending North Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un. He was also known for eccentric fashion choices, piercings, tattoos, and dying his hair different colors.
Rodman appeared at the conference with comedian Mike Albanese to chat about how he became a media sensation before there was Twitter and Instagram.
“If you look at the 95-99 seasons, who’s the only athlete who was trending,” Rodman said. “I was the only one who was trending back then because what I was doing was so out of the norm, and out of the norm in sports. You had the Michael Jordans. You had the Magic Johnsons. You had all the athletes around the world, but no one ever stood out as a flamboyant human being in sports but me. I wasn’t trying to, I was just going to have a good time, living life to the fullest. I knew what I had, but I didn’t brand it…I was just being me,” he said.
“I realized I was starting something so real when I started seeing kids, babies, grandmothers, grandfathers start to emulate me. I’m walking around playing with the greatest athletes on the planet and they’re emulating Dennis Rodman.”
From a branding perspective, the secret is to stand out. He said so many people copy each other instead of being themselves. “You guys are here to create the next big thing,” he said.
“I’m gonna show the youth of America it’s okay to be fun, eccentric, exciting, and fun. It’s okay to think. It don’t hurt to think of great ideas.”
Albanese asked Rodman about a well-known rift between himself and other Chicago Bulls players. “I had to get used to it. Being in Detroit, I had to get used to being in Chicago… I didn’t talk to Michael Jordan or Scottie Pippin for a year, only on the court… My attitude wasn’t trying to get along with the team there. My attitude was more like fuck you and fuck you pretty much. I was like, I’m gonna start playing for Dennis Rodman. I’m gonna start living for me. Because when I was in Detroit I had to learn and grow to be a human being, an adult. I was 25 years old and my mind was like a kid. But when I left home and I went to San Antonia, I grew up really fast and I felt like I don’t need to like you to win… I just want to win, and make money, and be happy. That’s it. You can hate me or love me but as long as I’m doing my job, that’s the most important thing.”
Rodman said he has no regrets. “It’s just wonderful to live life. I create everyday. When I drive I create. When I play, I create.”
He also advised the room full of potential digital innovators and influencers that if they want to tap into something new, they should look to trends of the past, citing the comeback of Jordache and Fila and the appetite of “Generation G” for products from the past they had never seen before. He said to look back to the 30s, 40s, and 50s to see what was trending then and “look at the trend then. Go back and see some of these things then and try to mix something together, and try to blend it today.”
Rodman’s way of blending his own past with today is with an active Twitter account and wearing shirts with himself on them. He also recently was featured in the ESPN documentary series 30 for 30.
Digital Summit takes place in cities across the country throughout the year. Learn more at https://digitalsummit.com/.