- The Washington Times - Friday, February 18, 2000

So Dennis Rodman has challenged David Stern to a fight in the nude.

There is a pattern.

Rodman also has vowed to play his last game in the nude.

Is nude fighting and nude basketball significantly different from nude dancing?

The latter is a "constitutionally protected expression," according to a judge in Maryland.

The expression of public nudity is powerful, whether on a court, in a ring or on a bar top.

Rodman is an artist, too. You can tell by how often he paints the top of his head.

Rodman finds himself in trouble with the NBA again after only his second game with the Mavericks. That was one more game than expected. Rodman usually needs only an unprotected groin to get into trouble.

He thinks the NBA, specifically Stern, is out to get him. If so, Stern and the NBA are guilty of being redundant.

The next step, logically, is a fight between Rodman and Stern. Gloves. No trunks. No nothing.

Rodman is perhaps ready to move up in weight class following his series of highly publicized bouts with Carmen Electra. Stern would represent a stiffer challenge, although Rodman would have the height and reach advantage.

"Me and David Stern need to clear our differences," Rodman says. "Let's get into the ring. He gets naked, I get naked and let's go in and get it on, brother."

Two naked men inside a ring. There's a pay-per-view idea. Are protective cups optional?

Gentlemen, watch the low blows. Given the concept, the pre-fight directive carries additional significance.

Mud wrestling found an audience, as did Rodman as Rodzilla. Perhaps it could happen for nude fighting, the extremist of the Extreme Games.

It is assumed that Rodman is on his last legs in the NBA. This just goes to show you how wrong assumptions can be.

After being whistled for a technical foul, Rodman went to the opposite end of the court and took a seat, Buddha-like, inside the three-second lane. This resulted in another technical foul and his removal from the game.

Rodman dispensed the usual conspiracy theories after the game, along with the demand that he and Stern settle their differences like naked men.

What's more unnerving Rodman and Stern in a ring naked or Rodman on an average day?

Rodman exhausted everyone's patience a long time ago. He wound up in Dallas only because the owner-in-waiting wanted to boost ticket sales. Jerry Springer feeds off the same premise.

As an entertainment device, Rodman is a threat to lose his mind or spring a leak. He certainly is running out of body parts to pierce.

He possibly could last 15 games with the Mavericks, depending on his rate of technical fouls and suspensions. He is No. 70 in the scorebook. His request to be No. 69 was denied. The implication was too much.

As far as the basketball aspect goes, Rodman is not bad for a player who trains in Las Vegas and has appeared in only 25 games the last two seasons. He accumulated 16 rebounds, six points and four assists in 36 minutes against the Bucks before being ejected. The numbers are mere footnotes; nude fighting garners national attention.

The owner-in-waiting has tried to make it easy on Rodman. He provided Rodman with a guest house and no team rules.

Remarkably, the owner-in-waiting is looking at going 0-for-2. The NBA kicked Rodman out of the guest house, and Rodman is the only player with the ability to break one of the no team rules.

Rodman also is the only player from his era who makes the NBA's Gen. X players look well-balanced in comparison. You could say he is the last of his kind, except that wouldn't be fair to Bill Laimbeer.

Give Rodman credit. He refuses to go away. Just when you think he either will wind up on a shrink's couch or in Hollywood and he is overqualified on both counts he shows up back in the NBA.

Rodman was said to have matured while he was away from the NBA. At least that is what his agent said. He sure fooled his agent.

To everyone else, Rodman looks like his old self.

Nice hair, too.

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