Rick Reilly recently tore Dennis Rodman a new one over his trip to North Korea. Except by “tore Dennis Rodman a new one,” I mean “made some really unfunny jokes.” And by “over his trip to North Korea,” I mean “and got paid something like $65,000 for it.” Rick Reilly recently made some really unfunny jokes and got paid something like $65,000 for it.
Thus rephrased, you can see why this little item was generally unremarkable—lo, that it were news when a Rick Reilly joke flops!—except that it made me wonder briefly what the year was. It makes a certain kind of sense that Reilly would go after Rodman, rather than, say, writing about anything relevant to sports today, as you might expect a prominent sportswriter to do. Both of them peaked, roughly, circa 1997. That year, one of the highlights of coming home after school was those days when I’d get my new copy of Sports Illustrated and eagerly flip to the back page, to read what wacky events had transpired in the Life of Reilly that week. Rodman, meanwhile, was the bomb because you could change his hair color in NBA Hangtime on Nintendo 64. Neither man would ever again reach such lofty heights.
Reilly’s fall from relevance since, granted, may be in the eye of the beholder; considering the paychecks he continues to draw, someone somewhere must still like him. Perhaps his maudlin hackery was there all along and it’s only my taste that has changed. Rodman’s well-documented decline has been rather more objective. Still, can there be any doubt that in the hazy moments before these two gentle souls slip off to sleep each night, their thoughts drift to the second Clinton administration, those heady days when one could still write breathless pieces about record-breaking athletes without putting on one’s D.A.R.E. t-shirt, and/or come home to Carmen Electra at the end of a hard day of piledriving Roddy Piper through a folding table?
Kim Jong Il apparently once shot 5 holes in one while shooting 38 under par in his first round of golf. He also bowled a 300 at his first round of bowling. All according to the state-run media service. In case you wanted to put this whole Dennis Rodman publicity thing into perspective