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“I just wanted people to like me” - Dennis Rodman on why he stole 50 watches from an airport shop

Charges never went through, because of what Rodman did with the watches.
Detroit Pistons forward Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman lived a troubled childhood growing up. His father left him at an early age while his mom never showed him the affection he deserved because she was too busy working 3 jobs to provide for Dennis and his sisters. 

The lack of guidance and love Rodman received in his early years significantly played a role in the man and player he became. Throughout his teenage life, Rodman was always looking for the happiness and love he deserved, and he channeled that by committing crimes and getting people’s attention.

Stealing watches from the Dallas–Fort Worth Regional Airport

In a one-on-one interview with GQ Magazine’s Mychal Denzel Smith, Dennis the Menace opened up about the time he stole 50 luxurious watches in an airport shop to please people. According to Rodman, who at that time worked as a janitor in the airport, he gave those watches away to people he knew, but they didn’t end up keeping them because he was arrested.

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When he was 19 or 20, Dennis worked as a night janitor at the Dallas–Fort Worth Regional Airport. One day he got the idea to steal some watches from one of the shops. He stole 50. The security cameras caught him, of course, and he was arrested, but the charges reportedly never went through because the police recovered the watches: Dennis had given them all away,Smith wrote.

The incident underscores a central mission in Dennis’s life, even back then: to feel good. He didn’t try to sell the watches; that’s not why he took them. He simply handed them out to people he knew. ‘I was trying to please people…. I just wanted people to like me,’ he [Dennis] once said,” Smith added.

From a teenage boy thief to an NBA champion

Rodman robbing a watch store is inexcusable, and it depicts the roots of all problems he had to endure growing up. When Smith got ahold of Rodman’s mug shot from the night he was arrested, the writer admitted that he noticed the fear and loneliness he saw on the teenage boy’s face. Rodman said he had cried plenty at that time, and he was basically a kid searching for a kind of love that felt like home.

Ultimately, it was basketball that changed Rodman’s life and what served as a guide to get his life together. He went from being a teenage boy arrested for stealing watches at an airport to an NBA Hall-of-Famer and not to mention 5-time champion. Basketball helped Rodman find the love he lacked in his childhood through his coaches Phil Jackson and Chuck Daly, and the teammates he met along the way. 

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