Bad As I Wanna Be

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Bad As I Wanna Be is a 1996 book that is the first autobiography of NBA player Dennis Rodman and was written during the 1995-96 season when Rodman was a member of the record setting Chicago Bulls team that went on to win the NBA Championship. Tim Keown was Rodman's ghostwriter. Bad As I Wanna Be was followed up by Walk on the Wild Side, which was published in 1997, and I Should Be Dead By Now, which was published in 2005. This book also saw a rejoinder novel written by Rodman's ex-wife Anicka Bakes, called Worse Than He Says He Is, that was released the same year as Walk on the Wild Side.

Background[edit]

The book opens with Rodman recounting an incident during the 1992-93 basketball season where he nearly took his own life in the parking lot of The Palace of Auburn Hills, while Rodman was still a member of the Detroit Pistons. During this time he describes his feelings to that point, how his life seemed to be falling apart and how he felt he was living a lie, and the first chapter ends with Rodman declaring that the incident turned him into the person that he became later on and how that person was "the one you should have been seeing all along".

Throughout the book, in addition to talking about his life and his basketball career Rodman opines about several things, including his relationship with Madonna, the influence of drugs on professional athletes, how his marriage fell apart and the toll it took on him, how he doesn't feel that certain basketball players should be paid as much as they are, his views on homosexuality and bisexuality, and his dislike for various NBA players. Examples include calling out Grant Hill because he felt the NBA had selected him to be their next chosen superstar and how he should not have won NBA Rookie of the Year (Hill in fact shared the award with Jason Kidd, whom Rodman believes deserved it more), saying that Karl Malone was "too fucking white-collar" to associate with him and criticizing him specifically for his opposition to Magic Johnson's ill-fated 1992 NBA comeback, saying that John Stockton got away with all sorts of cheap shots, and claiming that he was a better player than Derrick Coleman, Glenn Robinson, and Chris Webber despite all three of those players making much more money than he did. One of his targets, Anthony Mason, said in response "what does he do besides rebound?"

Rodman is particularly critical of former NBA Commissioner David Stern, his San Antonio Spurs teammate David Robinson's apparent lack of leadership skills, and the team's general manager Gregg Popovich. A particularly testy piece concerns something that Chuck Person, who Rodman played with his second season in San Antonio, said criticizing Rodman after he was traded. Rodman ridiculed Person for saying anything, claiming that he didn't have any standing to rip into him when Person's play was not of the same level that it was when he starred with the Indiana Pacers early in his career.

Oddly enough, the writing of the book took place at a time where Rodman had been leading the NBA in rebounding for several years in a row and Rodman opined about how he would never get into the Basketball Hall of Fame based on it, claiming they'd throw a "Pete Rose" at him. Rodman would have himself proven wrong in 2011 when he was part of that year's class.

Other notes[edit]

The cover for Bad As I Wanna Be featured Rodman posing naked on one of his motorcycles with basketballs surrounding him. The cover was parodied for his ex-wife's rejoinder.

Bad As I Wanna Be was also widely known for the various different type settings present throughout the book. While most of the book is printed in one font, there are various parts of italicized, bolded, narrowed, widened, and capitalized text throughout the book. There was never a clear reason given for this.