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Dennis Rodman meets estranged father after more than 40 years

July 19, 2012|By Chuck Schilken
  • In this photo taken on Wednesday, former NBA star Dennis Rodman, left, shakes hands with his estranged father, Philander Rodman Jr., after an exhibition game in Manila. The two finally met after 42 years of separation. Philander said he was happy and surprised that his son agreed to meet him late Wednesday.
In this photo taken on Wednesday, former NBA star Dennis Rodman, left, shakes… (Associated Press )

Dennis Rodman is always full of surprises. He pulled a huge one during Tuesday's press conference for an NBA "alumni" exhibition game in the Philippines when he invited his father to come watch the following night's game.

The two men had been estranged for more than four decades, although Philander Rodman Jr. says he has tried to make contact with his famous son many times since then.

But the basketball Hall of Famer surprised his father by telling reporters Tuesday: “I don't hate the guy that brought me into this world. The fact is, if I saw him, I'll just tell him, 'You know, you're a friend of mine.' "

Philander Rodman, who has lived in the Philippines for nearly 50 years, attended the game Wednesday wearing a hat that read, “Yes, Dennis Rodman is my son.” During a break with seconds left in the game, Rodman grabbed a microphone, acknowledged his father's presence and pointed to the 71-year-old Vietnam War veteran.

After the game, the two men spoke -- albeit briefly -- for the first time since 1969, when the younger Rodman was 8 years old.

"I've been trying to meet him for years," the former Laker's father told the Associated Press on Thursday. “And then last night, boom, I met him. I was really, really happy and very surprised.” 

Philander Rodman, who has acknowledged fathering 29 children by 16 mothers, said he did not have time to explain to his son that he didn't abandon his family in the U.S.

Instead, they merely exchanged handshakes and greetings while the former NBA star signed autographs. But for the older Rodman, that was enough for now.

“I really, really felt good,” he said, adding that his son took his phone number and promised to call. "It's the beginning of something new."

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