ESPN will debut the next documentary in the Peabody and Emmy award-winning 30 for 30 series with “Rodman: For Better or Worse” the unfettered and definitive look at the life and career of Dennis Rodman. The film, directed by Emmy-winning director Todd Kapostasy, will premiere on Friday, September 13 on ESPN Player.
Beginning in Dallas, where Rodman and his family members recall a difficult and often uncomfortable childhood, the film traces his improbable rise from an at times homeless, teenaged airport janitor whose belated, extraordinary growth spurt propels him to small school stardom at Southeastern Oklahoma State, and then to the Detroit Pistons as a second-round NBA draft selection. In the pros, Rodman first becomes a role player for the future back-to-back champions before emerging as the league’s best rebounder – and perhaps the most iconoclastic figure in basketball history. From Detroit to San Antonio to Chicago, from his appearance and his antics to his brilliance and his exuberance, Rodman crafts a Hall of Fame career on his way to winning five NBA titles in all. 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.
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.”
Kapostasy is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning director and producer. In 2016 he wrote and directed a documentary on the Chicago Cubs, “Confessions of a Cubs Fan,” and a year later, “Making Tar Wars,” a documentary on the story of George Brett’s pine tarred bat. In 2018, Kapostasy premiered his short film “Run” at the Tribeca Film Festival, the story of Robert Young, an ultra-marathon runner attempting to set a record by running across the United States amid allegations of fraud.
About ESPN Films
ESPN Films has been an industry leader in documentary filmmaking since its inception in March 2008, producing more than 100 documentaries that have showcased some of the most compelling stories in sports. The high quality of storytelling, highlighted by the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series and the Academy-Award winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” has led to record viewership as well as multiple honors and critical acclaim. Additional projects from ESPN Films over the years have included 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX and the SEC Storied series.