Trump-Kim Summit: Dennis Rodman - colourful, controversial and here in Singapore

Dennis Rodman now 57, was famed for his colourful personality, hairstyles and tattoos, as well as his erratic behaviour both on and off the basketball court.
Dennis Rodman now 57, was famed for his colourful personality, hairstyles and tattoos, as well as his erratic behaviour both on and off the basketball court.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Retired National Basketball Association (NBA) star Dennis Rodman arrived in Singapore on Tuesday (June 12) for the historic summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.

Rodman, now 57, was famed for his colourful personality, hairstyles and tattoos, as well as his erratic behaviour both on and off the court.

In 2013, he visited North Korea to host some basketball exhibitions. There, he met Mr Kim, who is a basketball fan, and the pair struck up an unlikely friendship. Rodman and his travelling companions were reportedly the first Americans to have met the North Korean leader.

Rodman, who went on to visit the country five times (most recently a year ago), later told Sports Illustrated: "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."

Here's what you need to know about Rodman, whom SI once called "America's most provocative athlete" and People magazine labelled a "rebel without a pause":

1. Despite the controversies that have plagued his career, he is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players and rebounders in the history of the NBA. He was twice named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year (1991, '92) while he was a member of the Detroit Pistons. He was also named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team seven times (1989-93, 95-96).

2. He was the NBA's Rebounding leader for seven straight seasons (1991-98) despite playing with three separate teams - the Pistons, San Antonio Spurs and Chicago Bulls. He sits at 23rd in the NBA's list of the all-time NBA rebounding leaders with 11,954. The legendary Wilt Chamberlain heads the list on 23,924.

3. Rodman won five NBA championships - two with the Pistons (1989, '90) and three with the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls ('96-'98). He was a key part of the iconic Bulls team that went 72 games unbeaten in an 82-game season, which was a record then.

4. On court however, he had several notorious run-ins with both officials and fellow players. He headbutted opponents Stacey King and John Stockton and also a referee in 1996, for which he was banned for six games.

In 1997, he tripped over a cameraman during a game and subsequently kicked him in the groin. He was banned for 11 games.

5. He was infamous for clashing with his club officials and occasionally going MIA, like when he skipped pre-season camp with the Pistons in 1992.

In 1998, he caused a major flap in the media when he appeared to ditch the Bulls in the middle of the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz to appear with Hulk Hogan on a live wrestling show. Fortunately for Rodman, his coach then, the sanguine Phil Jackson, who was famed for his man-management skills as much as his tactical nous, merely assured the media that it was not a great transgression on Rodman's part, and then turning to the cameras, smiled and addressed Rodman. "By the way, Dennis," Jackson said. "Practice is at 10:30 tomorrow morning."

6. He last appeared in the NBA in 2000 with the Dallas Mavericks. He played a few games in Mexico, Finland, Britain and the Philippines, and was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 2011.

7. Rodman's personal life was as tumultuous as his professional career. He was married thrice.

Following the breakdown of his first marriage to Annie Bakes, he was found one night by police in 1993, sleeping with his shotgun in his car outside the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Pistons' homeground. He later revealed that he had spent the night contemplating taking his own life.

His second marriage to singer-actress Carmen Electra lasted barely two years. In his second book I Should Be Dead By Now (published 2005), he claimed that they had sex in every room at the Berto Center, the Bulls' training facility. "We did everything under the sun at the Berto Center, everything that you could name. We didn't care where we had sex," he wrote.

He also dated Madonna for several months, and in his first book Bad As I Wanna Be (published in 1997), claimed that she "wanted to get pregnant really bad".

He once declared himself bisexual, put on a wedding dress and said he was going to marry himself.

8. Rodman is not only familiar to Mr Kim, he also knows Mr Trump from his time on the US President's show Celebrity Apprentice, having appeared in Season 6 in 2013.

The show is part of Mr Trump's Apprentice reality-show franchise.

But Rodman and his team misspelt the name of Mr Trump's wife Melania and were given the boot.