Dennis Rodman met his father last night for the first time after 42 years of separation. The Associated Press reports the NBA Hall-of-Fame basketball star was in the Philippines for an exhibition game while his father -- Philander Rodman Jr. -- waited patiently in the audience in the hopes Dennis would notice him.
Rodman did, in fact, acknowledge his father during a brief break late in the game. He grabbed a microphone and pointed to Philander in the stands. The 71-year-old stood up, smiled and said "Yes, Dennis Rodman is my son." The audiance cheered and clapped.
The previous evening Rodman was asked about his father during a press conference for the upcoming exhibition game since it's known his father lives in the country. Dennis seemed at ease and replied, "I don't hate the guy that brought me into this world," he told reporters. "The fact is, if I saw him, I'll just tell him, 'You're a friend of mine.' "
Rodman was born in 1961 and last saw his dad in 1969. His father abruptly left the family -- him, his mother, and his two sisters -- which forced them into poverty. The pair are said to have a tumultuous relationship which evolved out of abandonment issues. In 2006 Dennis refused to see his father.
Rodman has struggled publicly with drugs, alcohol, failed marriages and financial ruin over the past 20 years. Many speculate Rodman's issues stem from his family life coupled with celebrity status at the height of his NBA career with the Chicago Bulls.
Philander admits to fathering 29 children by 16 different mothers. "I've been trying to meet him for years. And then last night, boom, I met him. I was really, really, happy and very surprised," said Philander to the Associated Press. Father and son were only able to spend a few minutes together while Rodman signed autographs before he left the arena for a press conference.
It's not clear if the pair will attempt to mend their relationship. Philander admitted he gave Dennis his phone number and hopes to one day explain to his son he never meant to abandon him as a child. Philander told the Associated Press, "I felt really, really good." He went on, "It's the beginning of something new." No comment yet from Dennis Rodman on last night's meeting.
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