Rodman shows he's still the life of the party at local appearance

2012-12-02T22:00:00Z 2012-12-04T00:25:04Z Rodman shows he's still the life of the party at local appearanceJohn Burbridge, (219) 933-3371

GRIFFITH | The Bulls' unofficial theme song pounded from the DJ booth as Dennis Rodman made his ostentatious, flashbulb-backed entrance into Bridges' Scoreboard Restaurant and Sports Bar.

If anyone thought Rodman had dialed it down since his wild-and-crazy days as a cultural anti-hero, he proved them wrong Sunday.

"DJ ... are you ready to party?" Rodman said after "Sirius" by the Alan Parsons Project ended.

"Yes, I'm ready to party," answered Catalyst Productions DJ Brian Cummings. "How 'bout some Pearl Jam?"

That set off an impromptu karaoke set after Rodman commandeered the microphone and began to belt out "Evenflow" before pivoting on the dime with the music switching to James Brown and Sly and the Family Stone.

Rodman seemed more interested in singing, mingling and having a good time than dealing with a pesky reporter. But he did elucidate on the state of the game, which he says he still follows.

"First of all, (NBA Commissioner) David Stern has done a hell of a job with the league even though people don't often give him credit," Rodman said. "He's allowed the game to grow globally, and that has brought in some great international players.

"But the league today has gotten too ghetto."

Rodman scoffs at the possibility of any NBA team eclipsing the 1995-96 NBA champion Bulls, arguably the greatest team of all time.

"No, no ... don't go there," Rodman said, "The (Los Angeles) Lakers had something, but they didn't go with Coach Phil (Jackson). I mean, come on, not only is he a great coach, he's one of the league's last (active) links to Michael Jordan."

Rodman, who was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame last year, had already won two NBA championship rings with the Detroit Pistons before joining the Bulls for the 1995-96 season. For Bulls owner Jerry Reindorf and general manager Jerry Krause, it was a great risk that paid off.

For Bridges' co-owners Scott and Jeff Bridges, bringing Rodman to Griffith was also a risk.

"He is probably the biggest sports celebrity we've had here," said Jeff Bridges, who had to be reminded that they also hosted appearances from Pro Football Hall of Famers Richard Dent and Dan Hampton, and Chicago Blackhawks great Bobby Hull.

"(Rodman) is the type of figure who is known outside of his sport," Bridges said. "It took some negotiations, and we had to make sure we marketed the event properly. And we have to account for extra security and personnel to make this work."

Andrew Rudakas, 21, of Valparaiso, was able to obtain an autographed poster of Rodman — the rather famous shot of him diving all-out for a loose ball.

"When I go to Bulls games and when they play that montage before the game, I get goose bumps when they show that play," said Rudakas, who was a member of Wheeler High School's Class 2A state basketball championship team in 2010. "He didn't come close to getting the ball, but it's still a thrill to watch."

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