You ever have one of those nights that is so random and far-fetched you don’t even know how to tell the story to sum up the sheer madness of it all? This is one of those stories and I’ll do my best to tell it.
The night started like any other great American story, at a Major League Baseball game, Angels and Rays to be exact. I attended the game with my mates Steve, Warren, Cain, and his brother Abe. Since Anaheim, California isn’t known for any nightlife outside the walls of Walt Disney’s finest piece of land, when the last out occurs your only option becomes a place that is delightfully tacky, yet unrefined. You guessed it, Hooters.
The five of us spent a few hours indulging in some beers, apps, and determining final Moundball dues. As we are finishing up in walks one of the most polarizing and recognizable people on our planet: Dennis Rodman. What Dennis Rodman was doing in an empty Hooters in Anaheim at 11:30PM on a Saturday night was beyond me, but at that moment I don’t think any of us could have imagined how the rest of the evening would play out.
Dennis Rodman is one of the few people of our era whose notoriety may be defined a dozen different ways depending on who you ask. Some people would recognize him due to his acting career, his (failed) marriages, outlandish behavior, unique hairstyle or piercings, legal/sobriety issues, or most recently his affairs with a notorious enemy of the state. The list goes on and on, and I believe you’d be hard-pressed to name many others more renowned both domestically and globally than the so-called Worm. For Steve, Warren, and I the feeling is a little different as we all grew up in Chicago during the incredible Bulls era, making Rodman a vital part of our childhood.
Since I’ve been a Los Angeles resident I’ve had my fair share of celebrity sightings, from A-list (Ben Affleck, Danny Devito) to D list (Johnny Knoxville, Jeff Ross) and every grade in between. I’m not one to get star struck, more of the type to acknowledge their presence but leave them in peace. However in this case the group of us was a mixture of confused and excited to see Rodman at such an unlikely venue. He took a seat outside on the patio with two others.
The five of us sat there questioning what to do. Do we approach like we belong? Do we ask for a picture? Or do we float off into the night quietly? I feel like the fear with celebrities is if you have a bad experience it will ruin your perception of them forever. For most girls I think a good example would be Beyoncé. Chicks fucking love Beyoncé, for reasons I still don’t know. But hey, respect. Anyways, imagine running into Beyoncé in aisle nine of your local Whole Foods. What would you do? Let’s say you approach her, fumble some words about how you love her, mention that Single Ladies was your sorority’s anthem sophomore year and ask for a selfie. And what if she’s not into it, gets creeped out, ignores you, or hits you with a blunt “no I can’t, sorry.” It’s over. It’s all over. Those nights fresh off a breakup, laying in bed with Irreplaceable on repeat. The Saturdays squandered watching the I Am World Tour accompanied by cookie dough and a glass of wine. Life as you know it has no meaning or purpose. We were faced with a legitimate dilemma: approach or depart.
I was content with leaving but the other guys wanted to make a move. Steve stepped up and said he was going out there. We had been drinking pretty consistently for over 12 hours at this point so that may have factored into his valor. We watched him approach through a set of windows, standing over Dennis and his crew talking, and after about 30 seconds took a seat next to him. Well this is getting interesting. He was out there for about 20 minutes before he sent us a text:
Come out here, Dennis wants to meet you guys.
We head outside and were immediately greeted by Dennis, “Heard you boys are from Chicago, grab a chair and sit down.” Warren gets a little antsy in his pantsy and goes right for a chair next to Dennis. “Except that one god damn it!” he shouts. This is when the night began.
There he was, Rodman in the flesh, sporting a white wife beater, blue workout pants, sunglasses, and the notable piercings, just chilling. We sat around chatting for over an hour about a flurry of topics: Dennis’ annoyance that his #91 hasn’t been retired by the Bulls, Derrick Rose’s inability to stay on the court, his excitement to perform with Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field this summer (plus full demonstration), Donald Trump, and restaurants in Chicago. Warren tells him that growing up a Bulls fan, the only jersey he owned was a Rodman one. Steve and Dennis are giving each other a hard time like old pals. Dennis makes a comment about how we’re all good guys, but isn’t sure about Cain yet, thinks he has questionable character and might just be gay. He seemed at ease talking with us. We weren’t gushing over him, just casual conversation like we’d known each other for years.
Rodman is exactly how you would imagine him: totally fucking nuts. I couldn’t tell if he was intoxicated, whacked out of his mind, or simply has a sluggish cognitive tempo. He would often transition from bro talk into something very philosophical. His motto of the night was “you gotta keep movin’ and, grooooooooovin.” He would repeat it over and over. At one point during our conversation Dennis looked directly at me and said, “You look like you got a big dick, you know that? We’re gonna call you Cock-Guy.”
Cock-Guy. Dennis Rodman just tagged me with the nickname Cock-Guy. What is better than that? This man’s sexual history reads like a novel, has five NBA title rings, and likely has had two dozen penicillin shots directly up his urethra, but deems me the Cock-Guy. Hilarity ensued. And that’s how the legend began, the legend of Cock-Guy. I ran with it, because how could you not? I spent the rest of the night talking in the third-person.
Cock-Guy would advise against that.
Hooters was getting ready to close for the night. We gathered that Dennis comes here all the time. We also gathered that when he does come here they either comp or apply a heavy promo code to his bill. When the tab arrived Dennis must have asked his friend half a dozen times if the bill was right. Would talk for a couple minutes and then would look back down on the bill and ask, “is this right?” Over and over. There was a part of me, sorry, there was a part of Cock-Guy that wanted to volunteer and pay the bill. But then I thought well if Rodman is questioning the bill it’s probably not cheap. Maybe he had been keeping a tab here for years and it was collection day. Maybe he had ripped off 20 shots of Patron before we made our way back to the patio, since Dennis seemed far from sober. Ultimately Dennis’ friend pulled out a Benjamin and a couple Tubman’s to pay the check.
Well the night was fun, but it’s time to wrap things up. Hanging with Dennis is cool and all but towards the latter end of the night he started making odd sexual innuendos to one of Hooters chicks that was making shit weird. The night will be a fun story to tell but Steve and I are both ready to get the fuck out of here and distance ourselves before something fucked up happens. Warren however is still riding Dennis’ coat-tails.
Dennis asks Steve, Warren, and Cock-Guy (me) where we’re headed. Cain and Abe were driving back up to Inglewood, but the three of us were going to Warren’s to change clothes with the intention of going to a club named Sutra (editors note: Sutra has since changed it’s name to Time nightclub). We’d taken an Uber to the Angels game.
“Hey Cock-Guy, you good to drive?” Dennis asks
“Cock-Guy is good to drive” I reply.
“Good, I’ll drive you guys home,” Dennis states.
Wait, what? Dennis asks if I’m good to drive, I say yes, and then he volunteers? He isn’t ready to say goodbye, wants more bro time. At this point I’m rattled. I go to say goodbye to Abe and Cain, and whisper, “You guys gotta offer to drive us home, Dennis CAN’T DRIVE!” They agree Dennis is in no shape to drive, and they go to retrieve their car.
I start walking towards the Hooters to deliver the news. I’m rehearsing the lines in my head. No worries Dennis, we got a ride! Suddenly, Dennis pulls up in his god damn Range Rover, Steve is sitting shotgun and Warren is in the back. The rest of Dennis’ party has departed, and it’s just us.
“Let’s go Cock-Guy, hop in.”
We’re going to fucking die tonight. I reluctantly get in and immediately put my seat-belt on. I nudge Warren and tell him to do the same. Dennis hops on the 5 freeway and we’re blazing south, meanwhile I can’t stop thinking about our imminent demise. What a way to go out though. What a story it’ll be. Front page news from World News Tonight to TMZ. Dennis Rodman (and 3 white boys) die in high speed crash.
I just keep thinking to myself, what the fuck is going on?
Dennis is SUPER paranoid about this small bag in the back seat in between us, yelling at us to throw it in the trunk. We assure him it’s fine where it’s at but he is persistent about throwing it in the back. I don’t want to touch this thing without latex gloves on. All I need is for an 8-ball of cocaine to roll into my lap. It’s late, we’ve been drinking all day, and I’m more shaken than Muhammad Ali. I grab the bag and fling it into the trunk like a live grenade. The music is blaring, Dennis is lighting up a cigar with one hand, texting in the other, and doing a steady 90 MPH as he transitions onto the 55-South. Cock-guy, who is currently very nervous and limp blurts out, “hey man, what if we get pulled over?”
Dennis motions to Steve to open the glove compartment. I’m assuming he’s going to show me how he deals with the 5-0 by pulling out a Glock 9. It’s the complete opposite. Steve pulls out a police badge and ID. Shit is officially lit. YOLO.
Warren is trying to yell over the music to instruct Dennis to take the next exit to get us home. Dennis acknowledges and then blows by the exit. “No worries,” Warren says, “you can take the next one.” Dennis acknowledges again and bypasses it once again. Is he kidnapping us? Nope. We pull up to Sutra, the club we said we were intending on going to. What a guy, he’s dropping us off at the club, five star review, though none of us are dressed remotely appropriate to get in.
“You can drop us off right up here,” I say.
“No way! Dennis you’re coming in with us, right,” Warren says, much to my chagrin.
“Yeah Cock-Guy, I’m coming too.”
Hello Police? I’m being held against my will.
Sutra is in what they call “The Triangle” in Orange County. It’s in an elevated mall with other restaurants, bars, and a movie theater. I used to be a regular at Sutra until it switched demographics from Asians, ravers, and dance music to its current state of Rap/Hip-Hop. The place is packed on weekends and walking through the mall with Rodman is going to attract some attention. Oh well, we park the car and we’re going. As we are making the walk through the parking garage and terrace, all eyes are on us. Rodman obviously sticks out like a diamond in a goat’s ass and it doesn’t help he’s paired with three significantly younger white dudes. People are just looking at us confused, questioning what they are seeing, not quite approaching. I’m thinking to myself there is zero chance we’re getting into Sutra. Dennis is dressed like a slob, I’m wearing Sperry’s and a snapback, and Warren’s got shorts on! I’ve seen people turned away at Sutra for much less. Dennis takes the lead and approaches the bouncer.
“Hey Dennis, good to see you again man. Cover is on the house tonight. Four of you?”
It appears that Dennis has filled the void I previously left at Sutra. He’s a regular. We walk past a plethora of security and everyone is introducing themselves to us. We get in and Dennis wants to head straight to the bar for shots. Warren asks me what we should get. I suggest tequila. He looks to Dennis who holds up four fingers and says “Jäger.” Well then. I haven’t done a Jäger shot since college but fuck it, I need to loosen up. Down the hatch and away we go. We start walking through the club and the mob begins. Sutra of old would not have recognized Rodman but Sutra of new very much does. We are doing laps around the joint, Dennis won’t stop moving (and groovin) and we’re trying not to lose him. Every dude in the club wants to shake his hand and every chick wants his attention. It’s chaotic. People are requesting photos but Dennis wants no part of that shit. In fact, he’s getting annoyed with all the attention. After about 15 minutes Dennis is fed up and ready to go. “Let’s go next door,” he says.
We leave Sutra and enter Saddle Ranch. Sutra is a full on nightclub, dimly lit. Saddle Ranch is a southern style bar with full visibility. Everyone in “The Triangle” is going to be here soon. We get in and head straight to the bar. Dennis lifts four fingers and says “let’s do it again.” More Jäger, sick. Dennis requests Steve and I to go find the hottest girls in the bar and bring them over. We follow his orders and go hunting. We find a collection of blonds and get them to follow us over. Steve and I figure if we get Dennis distracted enough we can ditch him.
The girls are into Dennis and he’s into them, all while more and more people start coming over requesting photos. Dennis is denying all wishes, making shit awkward. He’s becoming increasingly irritable and rude to everyone approaching him, and then turning to us like we’re his bodyguards. It’s time to get out of here, I grab Dennis by the arm and pull him towards to the exit. As we are walking towards the car a flock of people latch onto us. That’s when the most surreal moment of the night took place.
Dennis turns around, looks directly at me with a pale and frightened look, and says, “help, help me please.” I turn to Warren and ask…
“What the fuck do you do when Dennis Rodman asks you for help?”
We start pushing people away and escort him back to the car. Warren grabs the keys and the wheel while Steve and I are pushing people away from the Range Rover. We hop in and drive off. Dennis mood does a 180 within 30 second in the car, wants to keep the night going, more nightclubs, maybe a strip joint, but we are all adamant about going home. Which bring me to the moral of the story: You’d think hanging out with Dennis Rodman would be the highlight of your life. But in actuality we just wanted to get the fuck away from him, but he boxed us in like we were Karl Malone. Dennis’ only request before we depart….Taco Bell.
We hit the drive-thru and Dennis is really conflicted on what to get. He spends what seemed like an eternity pondering over the menu before he proclaims, “let me get eleven tacos.” If there’s a Taco Bell order that would correctly encapsulates Dennis Rodman, it’s eleven tacos. Taco Bell guy asks about the denominations: Hard shell? Soft? Chicken? Beef? Rodman doesn’t play that shit, asks us to decide for him. I pay the bill and we head back to Warren’s. Upon arriving, Dennis asks us what we’re doing for lunch the next day. He gives us his phone number (to his flip phone, not his main one) and says he’s going to pick us up the following afternoon and take us to one of his restaurants. He can’t get enough of us. Dennis gets out to thank us for a fun night with a handshake and a hug. I’m last to say goodbye, and after I bump off his chest I proclaim, “Cock-Guy Out!”
He loves it.
We get inside the apartment and ask each other, “did that really happen?” It had indeed. We followed up with Dennis the next day. He said he had some stuff to do and would call back later. We never heard from him again. That begs the question that a lot of women can relate to: Why do guys always do that? They say they will call and then they never call. Anyways, that’s the story of our one night stand with Dennis Rodman, and it will live in infamy.
Until next time Dennis. Cock-Guy Out!