There’s been discussion about a 30 for 30 on Dennis Rodman for a while, but last week saw Los Angeles Times columnist Arash Markazi break the news that one is complete and set to premiere Sept. 10, narrated by Jamie Foxx and covering “Rodman’s Hall of Fame career and infamous exploits on and off the court.” ESPN has now released a trailer for the film and further details on what will be involved.
First, here’s the trailer:
"Rodman: For Better or Worse" will premiere Tuesday September 10th on ESPN 🍿 pic.twitter.com/sUIiVPIqoY
— 30 for 30 (@30for30) August 15, 2019
This is directed by Todd Kapostasy, who’s won seven Emmys as a director and producer and is known for previous documentaries Confessions of a Cubs Fan and Making Tar Wars (on George Brett and the Pine Tar Game), plus several features for Fox Sports Live (back when that was a thing). (He’s also married to Tara Lipinski.) As per Kapostasy’s comments in ESPN’s release, the idea here is to dive into Rodman’s character:
On the basketball court and beyond, the story of Rodman is a study of the power and perils of fame, and how complicated identity can be. Rodman’s revealing interview throughout the film is central to the documentary as Kapostasy explores his exploits and accomplishments, creating an unflinching look at the costs and realities of the path he’s taken. He opens up about personal relationships, his career highs and lows, and his foray into international diplomacy through his relationship with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.
“Dennis is one of the more singular athletes in the history of sports, and attempting to uncover the underlying reasons and motivations behind his evolution from a shy, introverted kid in Dallas to the outrageous character we know and remember, is at the heart of our film,” said Kapostasy. “Many of us remember the counterculture persona Dennis created, but explanations for his behavior were, and still are, often reduced to the idea that ‘he’s just crazy’ or ‘Dennis Rodman’s just an attention seeker.’ But when you begin to piece together individual events of his life and the psychology that under-pins them, a much more complex and nuanced picture emerges. That is the story we wanted to tell.”
That’s not going to be an easy story to tell, perhaps especially when it comes to controversial moments like Rodman’s long-running involvement with North Korea. And that (plus the Make America Great Again hat he wore in a 2018 CNN interview) doesn’t exactly fit with the “avoid politics at all costs” new ESPN. But there’s definitely a whole lot of interesting potential material here, as the trailer illustrates. And it’s not just going to be Rodman’s perspective, either; the release notes that “Various media figures, friends, family, coaches and former teammates are interviewed for the film including: Michael Jordan, Isiah Thomas, David Robinson, Bill Laimbeer, Phil Jackson, John Salley and many others.” We’ll see what this final product looks like, but it certainly sounds like one that will interest a lot of sports fans.