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Examiner
  • Shawn Garrison: Rodman's visit a bit underwhelming

  • Fourteen minutes after the game was scheduled to start, Dennis Rodman strolled into the Independence Events Center.

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  • Fourteen minutes after the game was scheduled to start, Dennis Rodman strolled into the Independence Events Center.
    He wore sunglasses and a cap that covered his blond hair. Thirteen years have passed since “The Worm” played in his last NBA game, but it didn’t look like he’d lost any of the bravado that made him one of the league’s most unforgettable personalities.
    Rodman was a guest coach for a team of Kansas City-area players that took on the Ball Up streetball team Saturday night. Unfortunately, the Ball Up tour greatly exaggerated what Rodman’s role in Saturday’s festivities was going to be.
    Prior to Saturday’s game, Ball Up CEO Demetrius Spencer promised a spectacle that would have Rodman front and center. Here’s the scene he told me to expect: Rodman will likely be at the IEC well before the game, probably around 5:30 p.m. when the doors open. He’ll sign autographs, visit with fans and pose for photos. Oh, and Rodman will certainly be available for interviews before the game. He’s a great guy and talks to everybody.
    Here’s what actually happened: Rodman showed up after the game was supposed to start. Mysteriously disappeared for five minutes after halftime, eventually re-emerging in a change of clothes for some reason and didn’t do much more than make a token cameo in Independence.
    Now, this column isn’t meant to dog Rodman’s character. The man’s an A-list celebrity with an image – albeit a strange one – to protect. He doesn’t owe a local newspaper reporter anything. And to his credit, he spent roughly 15 minutes after the game hanging out with the couple hundred fans in attendance.
    My beef is with the way Ball Up marketed this event. Upon arriving at the IEC, several reporters were led down to a corner of the arena and told Rodman would be arriving shortly for a quick interview. But, I was told, only two media outlets were approved for interviews and since The Examiner wasn’t one of them, I would only be allowed to take notes. That contradicted what I’d been told previously.
    As the minutes passed, we were told there would be no pregame interview but they were working with Rodman to do something at halftime. After two quarters, Rodman strutted to the locker room without glancing at reporters. At this point, most of the media bailed. I stuck around, still hoping to get a couple minutes with the five-time NBA champion. Of course, that was a waste of time.
    After the game I pressed for details on what happened and was told by a Ball Up public relations person that Rodman only had limited time for one-on-one interviews and there were just too many requests to meet everyone’s demands. That’s an interesting explanation considering there were four reporters there Saturday and none of us were requesting one-on-one interviews.
    Page 2 of 2 - I apologize if this sounds like a reporter whining about how he was treated. That’s not my intent. But I have an issue with Ball Up coming into our city, promising this big show, guaranteeing access with an NBA Hall of Famer and not really making an honest effort to deliver.
    As for the game itself, it was entertaining enough. There was a DJ set up in the corner blasting hip hop music throughout the contest, an emcee offered running commentary of the game and the players threw down a handful of flashy dunks and tossed some slick no-look passes. The Ball Up team downed the KC squad 105-80.
    It’s a streetball tour, if that’s your thing then you probably were satisfied with the performance.
    But Spencer and Ball Up embarrassed themselves by breaking promises and advertising a product that failed to live up to their hype.
    Shawn Garrison is a sports writer for The Examiner. Reach him at 350-6319 or shawn.garrison@examiner.net. Follow him on Twitter: @GarrisonEJC
     
     

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