While promoting his new documentary “Rodman: For Better or Worse,” retired NBA superstar Dennis Rodman took a moment to talk about the changing attitudes towards LGBTQ athletes in professional sports and his relationship with gay men over the course of his career, among other things.
“I don’t know why people haven’t came out before,” Rodman tells Business Insider. “It’s cool that people are coming out being, you know, gay or homosexual or whatever, lesbian and stuff like that.”
Rodman goes on to say that he estimates 10-20% of pro athletes are probably LGBTQ.
“I wouldn’t be surprised, literally, I’ve said it all along, if 10% or 20% of people in the NBA, or any sports, [are] gay,” the controversial athlete says.
“I wouldn’t be surprised. It wouldn’t shock me at all. I think today, it wouldn’t shock anyone. I think that’d be more acceptable now than anything.”
Rodman then brings up Ryan Russell, the NFL free agent who recently came out as bisexual in an ESPN article.
“It don’t matter if [you’re in] sports or entertainer or actor or whatever in the world,” Rodman says. “Who cares? Okay. Who cares? You know, as long as he play and perform, does it matter?”
He also reflects that time he posed in drag for the now iconic 1995 cover of Sports Illustrated and how it impacted his relationship with the gay community.
“They didn’t know the fact that when [they] shot that cover for the Sports Illustrated that that was the best-selling Sports Illustrated ever,” Rodman says.
“And then the gay community started to reach out to me and said, ‘Wow, we never knew that our community can be represented like that in sports.’ And people didn’t know at the time that I was doing that.”
But Rodman says, despite the cover’s huge cultural impact, for him it was never that big a deal.
“I was, you know, doing all the drag clubs, I was dressing in drag. I was dressing in women’s clothes. I was doing lingerie and stuff like that and people in the gay community started embracing me.”
“If you’re gay,” Rodman says, “I didn’t give a damn.”
Watch the trailer for Rodman: For Better or Worse below.