The NBA Hall of Famer’s name pops up in headlines—for his reality TV antics, run-ins with the law, or the North Korea … thing. It also came up repeatedly in researching this story. Locals reported seeing the Newport Beach resident at grocery stores, 24 Hour Fitness, Fashion Island, and sushi restaurants; some had attended his infamous house parties. Here are a few of his O.C. escapades.
Morton’s The Steakhouse near South Coast Plaza
I used to be a busser at the Morton’s near South Coast Plaza, and we’d see him often. One time, near Christmas, he was by the bar with friends. After a few drinks, he got a little rowdy. He started getting flirty and touchy with the waitresses. He grabbed one of the girls on the butt, and she got angry, of course, and went to the manager. He came over and spoke to Dennis and asked him to leave. He kind of ignored the manager for a bit and then got up and threw his glass on the floor and said, “Fuck this place” and left. As he left, he mumbled about spending too much money at this place. I asked the waitress if she was OK, and she said he was always in there causing trouble.
—David M., Santa Ana
Anchor Bar in Costa Mesa
I host an open-mic comedy show at Anchor Bar in Costa Mesa. In late 2017, it was the first of the month, and I was tight on money. I was about $500 short on rent. I was hosting the show and stressing about my financial situation. It was almost midnight, and there were maybe 17 people left in the audience. Half of them got up to leave. As they were leaving, in walked Dennis Rodman. They all looked at one another and walked back in.
He sat in the back of the club and started telling the comics, “Make a joke about me!” The comics were saying things like “I’ve been trying to get into The Improv in Pyongyang” and he was throwing out dollar bills, making it rain. I noticed he had a big band of money out. Given my financial setbacks, I thought, I gotta close this deal. So I spelled it out to him.
“Listen, Dennis, if you got more money, I got more jokes. I’m $500 short on rent this month.”
He walked onto the stage. He may or may not have been intoxicated. He put four $100 bills on the stage and said, “You’ve got to give it to charity. What’s your charity?”
I said, “It’s me, dude. I’m the charity!”
He puts down another $400 and says that I’m honest. I used that to pay my rent. I’m the only man I know who can say that in 2017, North Korea paid my rent.
After he gave me the money, he took the mic and started singing “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley. A cappella. And then he was just talking about his relationship with North Korea. He was up there for about 10 minutes. At one point, he brought himself to tears. He’s a very passionate, emotional guy, and the … whatever it was … “alcohol” … will do that. Then he tipped a bunch of comics like $100 each and kept saying, “It’s not about the money; it’s about the love.”
—Evan Cassidy, Long Beach
At a Red Light in front of Hoag Hospital
He waved to get my attention, and when I rolled down my window, he gestured toward the French braid I was wearing.
“That looks cool. I really like what you have going on there.”
After speeding off unconvinced it was him, I took to Twitter for confirmation. His encouraging reply (“keep looking beautiful honey”) has gotten me through many a bad hair day since.
—Devon Hillard, Newport Beach
Where’s There’s Trouble
Josh Slocum’s, Mariner’s Mile
Rodman owned a restaurant and bar called Josh Slocum’s, which bounced back from an electrical fire and legal troubles before shuttering in 2005. From 2012 to 2013 it was home to DivBar. In 2014, Pizza Nova moved in, but closed late last year. Mama’s Comfort Food & Cocktails opened in the space this year.
His Home & boat, Newport Beach
During the Josh Slocum’s years, he was cited multiple times for incidents involving his 47-foot powerboat, Sexual Chocolate, and received more than 80 noise complaints at his Seashore Drive home. He was also arrested on charges of domestic violence and racked up multiple DUIs.
The 5 Freeway, Santa Ana
In late 2016, Rodman was charged with causing a hit-and-run accident, making a false statement to police, and driving without a license. He had been going the wrong way on the 5 Freeway when he nearly hit another car, which was forced to swerve into the concrete divider. No serious injuries were reported, and Rodman agreed to 30 hours of community service and three years of informal probation.
Vibes Yoga Studio, Newport Beach
In January 2019, Rodman was arrested on another DUI charge. In May, Newport Beach’s Vibes Yoga Studio accused him and his associates of stealing (and shattering) a 400-pound crystal in broad daylight. Rodman denied the accusations. Police said they were investigating the issue, and no arrests were made.