There’s been a groundswell of ’90s-era nostalgia lately thanks in large part due to The Last Dance documentary series airing on ESPN. The series covers Michael Jordan’s career with the Chicago Bulls. Few celebrities resonated as much as Jordan did during that era, but two that came close were Smashing Pumpkins lead singer Billy Corgan and Jordan’s teammate, Dennis Rodman.
Corgan appeared on Joe Rogan’s popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience and one of the topics that came up was the mercurial former power forward. Here’s what he had to say about him.
An odd friendship
Corgan and Dennis Rodman were a match made in heaven when they began hanging out in the ’90s. Corgan led one of the most popular alternative rock bands in the world at the time.
Meanwhile, Rodman was a larger than life figure in the NBA. After beginning his career as a talented (but nondescript) member of the Detroit Pistons, he began dyeing his hair and acting outlandishly as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.
When the Chicago Bulls acquired Rodman, it paired him with the greatest player of all time in Michael Jordan. It drew even more attention to Rodman and he quickly became an even bigger celebrity.
That meant he got to hang out with rock stars like Corgan. Corgan regaled Rogan with stories about hanging out with Rodman, both in the ’90s and closer to the present day.
Billy Corgan describes what type of person Dennis Rodman really is
Corgan told Rogan that he initially began hanging out with Rodman during his stint in Chicago. He told Rogan that Rodman was a physical freak — he was freakishly strong and would even work out after games when the two were supposed to hang out.
Corgan also told a story about hanging out with Rodman between games of the first Bulls’ NBA Finals series against the Utah Jazz. Corgan and Rodman went to Vegas and stayed out all night gambling.
After eight hours, they flew back to make the Bulls’ morning practice. Rodman then asked Corgan to go back to Vegas on the off day. Corgan reported that he ran into Bulls’ coach Phil Jackson, and Jackson gave him “the look of death” because he thought Corgan was responsible for the Vegas trips.
Corgan said that despite Rodman’s reputation, he’s actually somewhat misunderstood:
“There’s not a bad bone in Dennis’s body. Dennis has his issues, but he’s not a bad-hearted guy…I really love Dennis, he’s been nothing but a sweetheart to me and my wife.”
The time Dennis Rodman left Billy Corgan to go to North Korea
Of course, Corgan isn’t the only famous friend Rodman has. Rodman also (rather notoriously) made friends with the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Rodman first struck up a relationship with Kim in 2013 and according to the website ClutchPoints.com, said his mission was one of diplomacy:
“My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries. Why it’s been left to me to smooth things over, I don’t know. Dennis Rodman, of all people. Keeping us safe is really not my job…But I’ll tell you this: If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong.”
For those who weren’t following the Nobel Prize results around the 2013-2014 time frame, Rodman did not finish in the top three.
While talking to Rogan, Corgan relayed one story of a time he met up Rodman more recently and the former Bulls’ forward abandoned him for a shocking reason:
“Dennis is one of those people, at some point he just gets up and wanders away…about ten minutes go by, I say to the waitress, ‘Did Dennis leave?’ ‘Yeah, he left.’…I get up the next morning, I turn on the television, Dennis Rodman is in North Korea.”
It caught Corgan off guard, but in retrospect, it probably shouldn’t have. It was just par for the course with Rodman — a man who can be unpredictable to say the least.