Kim Kyung-hoon / Reuters, file
Retired U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman
By Becky Bratu, Staff Writer, NBC News
Retired basketball star Dennis Rodman checked into an alcohol rehabilitation center to seek treatment for his long-time struggle with alcoholism, his agent said.
Dennis Prince declined to disclose which facility will treat the star.
“What was potentially a historic and monumental event turned into a nightmare for everyone concerned,” Prince said, according to The Associated Press. “Dennis Rodman came back from North Korea in pretty rough shape emotionally. The pressure that was put on him to be a combination ‘super human’ political figure and ‘fixer’ got the better of him.
“He is embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused.”
Rodman, 52, recently returned to the United States from yet another trip to North Korea, where he led an auditorium crowd in serenading the reclusive nation’s leader, Kim Jong Un, with “Happy Birthday” at an exhibition game between former NBA players and a North Korean team.
A day earlier, in a bizarre, expletive-littered and sometimes incoherent interview with CNN, Rodman came close to suggesting that an American held captive in North Korea for more than a year, Kenneth Bae, was responsible for his captivity.
Bae’s family was outraged, and Rodman was also slammed for not using his influence with Kim to help free the American.
Rodman ultimately apologized for his comments regarding Bae, saying he had been drinking and was upset because some of his teammates were leaving under pressure.
Rodman, known as much for his antics, tattoos and adventurous fashion choices as he was for basketball, won five NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls.
The star was the highest-profile American to meet the North Korean leader since he inherited power from father Kim Jong Il in 2011. Rodman traveled to Pyongyang for the first time last February.
In November, the hoops star debuted “Dennis Rodman — The original Bad Ass Premium Vodka,” a “six times distilled all-American premium vodka.”
The endorsement was an unconventional choice for a star who has had issues with alcohol in the past, including getting arrested for driving drunk and assaulting his ex-fiancee. Rodman also entered an outpatient rehab facility in 2008. A year later, he agreed to appear on the third season of the show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew,” but he didn’t stay out of trouble.
In 2012, the Los Angeles Times detailed Rodman’s transgressions and legal issues and said the NBA Hall of Famer was broke and unable to get work.
“In all honesty, Dennis, although a very sweet person, is an alcoholic,” Peggy Williams, his then financial adviser, was quoted as saying. “His sickness impacts his ability to get work.”