May 31, 2012

By AMY TAXIN | Associated Press

ORANGE, Calif. (AP) — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman might soon find himself working with at-risk teens or cleaning up streets.

The flamboyant former player known for his rebounding skills and wild, off-court behavior was sentenced Tuesday to 104 hours of community service after being found guilty last year of four counts of contempt for failing to pay child support.

The ruling also placed Rodman, 51, on three years of informal probation on the condition he keep up his child and spousal support payments.

It was the latest development in a series of legal disputes that began in 2004, when Rodman's wife at the time filed for divorce.

Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Barry Michaelson urged Rodman — who wore a black button down shirt and jeans to the family court hearing — to put his basketball skills to good use in his service.

"My suggestion is to use your talents as a motivator, as a fine, fine athlete and as a fine person to assist others in need," Michaelson said.

Rodman still faces additional contempt charges and is accused of owing back child support in an amount that attorneys for Michelle Rodman, his ex-wife, say exceeds $800,000.

The towering Rodman, who sports face jewelry, said he would do whatever community service was required near his home in Florida, possibly working with children.

"It's all about the kids," Rodman said of the ex-couple's two children, after the hearing. "It does suck the fact that it had to come to this."

Rodman was found guilty by a judge of the four counts of contempt involving child support owed in 2009 and 2010.

Rodman's attorney Linnea Willis said the four charges stemmed from a period of time when he was expected to pay $50,000 a month in child support. That amount has since been reduced to $4,500 for child and spousal support. Rodman is now current on those obligations, she said.

Rodman, also known for his sometimes Technicolor hair, married in 2003. For years, he and his former wife have been feuding over custody and support of their children, ages 10 and 11.

Michelle Rodman declined comment after Tuesday's hearing. Her attorney, Jack Kayajanian, said he was pleased with the ruling and an award of $32,500 in attorney's fees.

Outstanding disputes over child support and additional contempt charges will be addressed at a hearing on June 22.

Willis said Rodman owes far less money in back child support than claimed by attorneys for his ex-wife.

Court documents filed earlier this year indicated that Rodman was broke. His tax return from 2010 shows he earned roughly $150,000, but his financial manager Peggy King said he owes significant back taxes.

She also said Rodman's alcoholism has tarnished his image and made it difficult for him to obtain corporate endorsements and other work.

On Tuesday, Rodman said he was doing fine financially and playing in basketball games in Europe and Asia, though he wasn't raking in the money he once did as a professional player.

"I'm making enough to keep everyone satisfied," he said.

Rodman was a bad-boy star of the Detroit Pistons and won three NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. He lived in Orange County before moving to Florida. He was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame last year.

Rodman dated Madonna, was married briefly to Carmen Electra, and gave loud parties that led to frequent run-ins with the law when he lived in Newport Beach.


Category: Sports