Skip to main content

David Stern Once Warned Dennis Rodman He'd Kick Him Out Of The NBA If He Got Another Tattoo: "I Said What? So That Basically Fueled The Fire There."

David Stern Once Warned Dennis Rodman He'd Kick Him Out Of The NBA If He Got Another Tattoo: "I Said What? So That Basically Fueled The Fire There."

Dennis Rodman was an integral piece of the puzzle for the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls, as he helped the two franchises win 5 NBA championships during his time with them. He was a two-time All-Star and won Defensive Player of the Year twice as well, but there was so much more to him than just being a great basketball player.

Rodman was one of the more controversial players of his time and that is saying something considering he played during the 1990s. He stood out from the pack due to his extravagant fashion choices and became a cultural icon of sorts during his playing career.

Rodman partied like no one else, dyed his hair, and sported a lot of tattoos, with the latter part apparently bothering then-commissioner David Stern. Rodman was somewhat of a regular visitor at Stern's office in New York thanks to his antics, and on one such occasion, the commissioner went off on him over his tattoos. Rodman discussed the topic with Kevin Hart during an episode of "Cold as Balls".

(At the 6:33 mark):

“When I was doing tattoos before anybody thought about doing tattoos, I was going to David Stern’s office in New York, and he said if you do any more tattoos, I’m gonna kick you out.”

“I was like, what? So basically, that just fueled the fire right there. I said OK, great, I went and got a tattoo that night, and then I just kept getting tattoos and piercings, kept doing my thing.”

Stern was attempting to change the image of the NBA, which had been rocked by drug scandals in the 80s, so it perhaps makes sense that he didn't want Rodman to give off a certain perception of what an NBA player was like. Rodman in the interview claimed that the league later realized that the people loved it, so they embraced the idea of players doing it.

One can only wonder what might have happened if Stern actually went ahead with his threats and had Rodman kicked out of the league. The fact that he didn't seem to notice all the new tattoos makes you feel that he perhaps wasn't all too serious about going through with it after all.