RODMAN AND JACKSON: ATTENTION GRABBERS

NEWS ITEM: The Rev. Jesse Jackson has met with suspended Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman and now is “advising” him. Jackson wants to meet with NBA commissioner David Stern in hopes of lightening Rodman’s punishment for kicking a photographer. Said Rodman of Jackson, “I dig what the brother does .
. .”

Jesse: Sit down, Dennis.

Dennis: Thanks, JJ. I dig what you do.

Jesse: JJ?

Dennis: Sorry. Rev.

Jesse: Dennis, I have studied your case, and I am intrigued by the possibilities.

Dennis: I’m intrigued, too.

Jesse: By the ramifications of your actions on the youth of our society?

Dennis: No, by your hair. You got a nice mini-fro thing. Ever think of purple?

Jesse: Purple?

Dennis: Yeah. Purple. Yellow. Green.

Jesse: Green hair?

Dennis: Maybe a rainbow. You do run the Rainbow Coalition, don’t you?

Jesse: Touche.

Dennis: Leave my butt out of this.

Jesse: Uh . . . certainly.

Dennis: So here’s what I don’t get, Rev. What do you want from me? I mean, I’m just a basketball player. I hang out with biker chicks. Tattoo my body. Pose nude. I’m not much into politics, man.

Jesse: Yes, Dennis. But I look at you and see fields of opportunity. I see a megaphone to the free world! I see OCEANS parting and SKIIIES opening!

Dennis: Fine by me. Long as I see a paycheck.

The Worm turns again

Jesse: Now, Dennis. If I’m to argue your case, I need to know your side of it.

Dennis: Well, Rev, it’s like this. The dude was in my way, so I kicked him in the family jewels.

Jesse: That’s it?

Dennis: Pretty much.

Jesse: We could say you were lashing out at a society that holds down strong black men. Was the photographer white?

Dennis: I don’t remember. I was checking out this chick in the fifth row.

Jesse: Hmm. How about we argue that you were enslaved by the NBA system?

Dennis: Yeah.

Jesse: A pawn of rich owners . . .

Dennis: Yeah!

Jesse: . . . owners who use you for personal gain!

Dennis: Amen, Jesse! AMEN!

Jesse: How much do these disgusting taskmasters make you work for, Dennis?

Dennis: Nine million damn dollars a year!

Jesse: Uh . . . let’s try a different tact.

The Worm kicks back

Dennis: Yo, Rev. While you’re thinking, do you mind if I use my cell phone? I gotta call my agent.

Jesse: Go right ahead.

Dennis: (dialing) . . . Yeah, Dwight? It’s Worm. How’s that Converse deal? No, man. You tell them $15 million or we walk. Yeah. And that Pizza Hut thing? Tell them I want a jet to pick me up, or I ain’t going. . . . What? No, I don’t want my suspension shortened. I got too much business. See if Stern can add a few games. . . . Yeah. And Dwight? Call Dr. Johnson. My navel ring fell out.

Jesse: Excuse me, Dennis?

Dennis: (click.) Yeah, Rev?

Jesse: Did you just say you don’t want your suspension shortened?

Dennis: No way! I got trips to Vegas. I got movies in LA. And there’s this chick I did a nude photo spread with — gives new meaning to the words
“religious experience,” know what I’m saying?

Jesse: But I thought I’d argue your case. I thought I would free you from the yoke of oppression.

Dennis: Well, Rev, uh, don’t take this the wrong way but . . . who asked you?

Jesse: Well, I . . .

Dennis: It’s OK. I get it. You and me are a lot alike.

Jesse: We are?

Dennis: See, I was once just another guy in my field, too. And then I discovered that if I made a lot of noise, I could get the cameras to come over to me. And once the cameras came over I made more noise, and soon they just came over on their own. Only problem is, now I gotta keep coming up with stuff to justify them coming over, you dig? Kick somebody. Dress like a woman.

Jesse: Go on.

Dennis: Well, I figure, you’re in the same boat. You want to keep getting on
“Larry King Live,” you gotta find the next big cause. Am I right?

Jesse: You’re very sagacious.

Dennis: Yeah. I love Sega.

Jesse: I’m going to ask the commissioner for a meeting.

Dennis: Ask him for my money back.

Jesse: I doubt he’ll meet with me, but it will make a statement.

Dennis: You know what I say, Rev. You can never make too many statements. You sure you don’t want some purple dye for that hair?

Jesse: No, thanks. And Dennis? Let’s keep this conversation to ourselves, OK?

Dennis: Cool with me. Unless someone pays me to write a book. A man’s gotta make a buck, you know.

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