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Scott Howard-Cooper

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Ever the individual, Dennis Rodman won't have to change his ways for his Hall of Fame ceremony on Friday.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Hall of Fame not looking to quiet Rodman's unique style


Posted Aug 10 2011 8:09PM

For now, the Dennis Rodman exhibit at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., is dominated by one of his old Bulls warmups, red with black trim.

By Saturday morning, if all goes according to plan, museum officials will exchange it for the gaudy clothes Rodman is expected to wear Friday night at the induction ceremony ... or early next week if the replacement outfit needs cleaning following the party ... or by Thanksgiving if it requires nuclear-powered steaming. The man knows how to celebrate.

Rather than plot countermeasures for potential bleepety-bleeping antics on live TV, rather than draft a letter of apology to the world for "that unfortunate incident" in the kind of farewell to the game Rodman had promised through the years, executives are not merely giving "The Worm" his custom-fit moment of individuality. They are embracing it. They don't want to survive Friday night at stately Symphony Hall. They want it to live on.

Rodman, in turn, has promised to do his part. Though historically courting the outrageous, and with the disclaimer that what he said months ago could vaporize in a moment of on-stage revelry, Hall bosses report Rodman has promised to be on good behavior as he is enshrined with Chris Mullin, Artis Gilmore, Tex Winter, Arvydas Sabonis, Satch Sanders, Tara VanDerveer, Teresa Edwards, Herb Magee and Goose Tatum.

There was a discussion on that very point, a most-unusual exchange between honoree and Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the board of directors at the Hall. It was just before the Class of 2011 would be announced at the Final Four in Houston. Colangelo congratulated Rodman and talked about the ceremony that would take place in Springfield. It was a good discussion.

"Based on what transpired in that conversation, nobody at the Hall has reason to be concerned," said John Doleva, the president and CEO of the Hall of Fame.

No one, Doleva noted, will have a twitching finger on the kill switch for the mic.

No one, he added, will be just off stage with a large blanket in case Rodman begins to strip, a previously announced exit plan for his final game.

"Maybe it'll jack up the ratings," Doleva said. "But we don't expect anything along those lines."

What will happen when Rodman takes the stage, with his presenter and former coach, Phil Jackson, standing a few feet away?

Best guess: It will pure Rodman joy, almost certainly with tears, probably with words from deep in the heart. Words likely full of the same unvarnished emotions that endeared him to so many fans and teammates at the same time he was turning off others and eventually running himself out of the league. Maybe he mentions his first NBA coach, the late Chuck Daly, and cries some more.

As former Detroit teammate Joe Dumars said in March, as Rodman was about to get his No. 10 retired by the Pistons: "I think his legacy is important to him, and I'm sure all of this means a lot to him."

Rodman broke down when he won Defensive Player of the Year. He is older now, but this is so much more. This is the Hall of Fame.

Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.

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