Press Telegram: If all goes according to plan, one of greatest rebounders and defenders in basketball history will be doing a lot of rebounding and defending in the Pyramid on the evening of Jan. 16.
That's when the Jam will play host to Fresno in its 17th game of the American Basketball Association season.
And that's also when 42-year- old Dennis Rodman is due to make his ABA debut in a Jam uniform.
The 6-foot-8 Rodman signed a contract with the Jam on Friday that, in theory, could extend for the length of the franchise's 36- game season that concludes in March.
But everyone, Rodman, his agent (Darren Prince), the Jam's president (Steve Chase) and the team's coach (Earl Cureton) enters this partnership knowing it might be a relatively brief one.
Rodman's goal is to land on an NBA roster sometime this season and he and his agent figured the Jam organization and team offered him the best opportunity of turning that goal into reality.
"He feels this is the perfect place to show the (NBA) general managers and the press who will attend the games (that he is still capable of playing on the highest level of basketball),' the West Orange, N.J.-based Prince said by telephone from his office Monday.
A hefty NBA salary isn't Rodman's motivation for a return to the NBA, Prince insisted.
"He's making commercials and has endorsement deals with adidas (athletic clothing) and Upper Deck (trading cards),' Prince said. "He's a guy who has probably made $30 to $40 million in his career ... this is absolutely not a situation where he is doing this because he needs the money.'
Prince, who said that he expects Rodman will meet with the media sometime after he begins workouts with the Jam "sometime after New Year's', said Rodman began plotting a return to the NBA "last May, when he was in Mexico taping 'Celebrity Mole' and was visiting with Ahmad Rashad (the broadcaster) and reminisced about the "old days.'
He said that Rodman also wants to demonstrate to the basketball- watching world that a "New Dennis' now resides in Newport Beach.
Rodman, he said, "knows he's not 30 anymore and he understands that he's not bigger than the NBA and that he needs to respect the league that 'made him.' He wants his children to see their daddy go out 'his way', not as a clown but as someone who people respect. He thinks that if he can help some team win a title or help a team get into the playoffs, then he's done his job.'
Rodman has played little, if any, "pickup' basketball over the past few years, said Prince, and is working out with a couple of personal trainers and a physical therapist and will then attempt to get into "basketball shape' during practices with the Jam.
Management of three NBA teams (which Prince wouldn't identify) are "very interested in Dennis,' Prince said. "There are teams that would have signed him right now but I didn't feel the time was right. He's not close to being at 100 percent (playing shape) yet.'
Some within NBA front offices greeted news of Rodman signing with the Jam with a tad bit of skepticism.
"I wouldn't take him seriously as a basketball player anymore,' said a scouting director for an Eastern Conference franchise. "I'd be surprised if anyone signs him but I'm sure a lot of people will take a look.'
Said another personnel director within the league, who also didn't want to be identified by name or by the name of the franchise he works for: "He was a great player but he might be a little old. It's going to be tough to try to come back after four years.'
Come Jan. 16, Rodman will get a chance to prove to them and, no doubt, a large posse of cynics, that there is still room for a guy who no matter the hoopla that surrounded him, always rebounded and defended like scant few had before or after him.
LA Times: Dennis Rodman, preparing to prepare himself for a return to the NBA by playing a few minutes with the ABA's Long Beach Jam, apparently will not be an option, should Malone's injury linger. Jackson said he spoke to Rodman "a couple weeks ago."
"It was about his own career, where he was going, what he wanted to do with it," Jackson said.
Jackson implied that Rodman called to inquire about a place with the Lakers, and Jackson told him the roster size (15) and makeup (many forwards, some of them young) made that impossible.
"So, it wouldn't be fair to us, it wouldn't be fair to him," he said.
As for Rodman's chances at a return to the NBA at 42, Jackson said, "You know, I would hate to bet against it. He's just really a terrific athlete."
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