It’s impossible to overstate how influential Dennis Rodman was at the peak of his career.
The original “Bad Boy of Basketball” got attention both on and off the court thanks to his larger-than-life personality and his ferociously competitive spirit. As part of the Chicago Bulls during the team’s historic 1996-1997 season, Rodman — together with the legendary Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen — brought the team to unprecedented heights.
And he was paid handsomely for it all. By some estimates, Dennis Rodman was worth more than $27 million at the height of his career. And that money attracted all sorts of celebrity cache — including high-profile relationships with Madonna and former Prince protegée Carmen Electra. If NBA stars are Met Gala-attending celebrity darlings today, it’s partly because Rodman walked (or, more specifically, dunked) so they could rip the runway.
Unfortunately, with such incredible highs came even more incredible lows — and he ultimately lost it all. But how did it happen?
Simply put, Rodman’s fate is a cautionary tale on the importance of financial literacy. A Sports Illustrated report revealed that he only began realizing he trusted the wrong people when the lights in his condo went out and life insurance payments had lapsed. And while his “financial advisor” blamed his bad spending habits, it turned out the truth was a lot more insidious.
Let’s take a look at the rise, fall, and redemption of Dennis Rodman.
Editorial note: The net worth listed in this piece is a speculative estimate drawn from a variety of online sources. The adjustments for inflation were also made using the online Inflation Calculator tool, and are approximate figures.
Dennis Rodman: A Career High
ClutchPoints has a breakdown of Dennis Rodman’s different career highs and lows.
For starters, it wasn’t until he was four years into his basketball career that he began commanding a million-dollar salary — which was in 1991, as part of his time with the Detroit Pistons (Adjusted for 21st-century inflation, Rodman’s salary would have been more than $2 million).
In 1993, he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs from the Pistons and earned $5 million (the equivalent of approximately $10 million) while there.
But it was in 1995 and his trade to the then-indomitable Chicago Bulls that turned him into a true baller. In fact, the 1996-1997 season put an astonishing $9 million ($16.2 million in 21st-century money) in his pocket.
All told, Dennis Rodman had a net worth of $27 million at the peak of his career.
So, What Went Wrong?
Unlike many other celebrities who fell into financial ruin, Dennis Rodman ran into a world of trouble because he trusted the wrong people with his money.
In 2016, The New York Post reported that Rodman’s ex-business manager, Peggy Ann Fulford, was arrested in New Orleans on fraud charges.
The charges came after a number of athletes accused her of mishandling their funds — including former Miami Dolphins player Ricky Williams, who “accused her of stealing $6 million in 2013.”
“Dennis was a victim,” said attorney Bradford Cohen, who represented Rodman. Cohen also noted that after his client began discovering “weird” charges, they conducted a forensic investigation which revealed that “Peggy was writing checks off his account for exotic cars, homes, jewelry. We reached out to the FBI and followed through with the investigation along the way.”
Crime and Punishment
In 2019, after overwhelming evidence about Fulford’s shady financial dealings came to light in federal court, Fulford pleaded guilty to only one count out of the many that were part of her larger indictment, per Sports Illustrated (The other charges were dropped as part of her plea deal).
She was sentenced to ten years in prison.
As a consolation of sorts, Judge Keith Ellison ordered that Fulford pay Dennis Rodman back — to the tune of $1,243,579, a mere pittance compared to what he’d earned.
Dennis Rodman Today
Today, Dennis Rodman has a net worth of $500,000, per Celebrity Net Worth. While he’s a long way away from his glory days with the Chicago Bulls, he’s still holding his own.
What’s more, as AfroTech previously reported, his 19-year-old daughter Trinity is currently bringing honor to the family name while creating a lane for herself. Her $1.1 million deal with the Washington Spirit makes her the highest-paid player in NWSL history.