×

Rodman encourages gay athletes to come out: 'Enjoy yourself'

Dennis Rodman marched to the beat of his own drum during his playing days, and he's encouraging professional athletes to do the same now.

Rodman was one of the best defensive

players of his generation and a five-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons, but he rose to fame in the '90s due in large part to his unconventional style and off-court activities - which included dressing up in drag, openly partaking in gay nightlife, and dating celebrities such as Madonna.

"One of the things I was proud of the most back then - I actually brought the gay community to the forefront for sports because of the things I was doing," Rodman told Ryan Pearson of The Associated Press. "I did a Sports Illustrated cover where I went in in a bathing suit and had makeup and stuff like that.

"And I was so flamboyant when I was doing it and stuff like that and people are like, 'wow, we like this guy because he's not afraid to go out the box.'"

He asserts there are gay players in the NBA and other major sports leagues today who haven't opened up yet.

"I just think that percentage-wise in sports, I think there's a lot," he said. "There's probably more bisexual than gay in sports. I'm sorry guys, to expose everybody. I wish all of them would come out. It's acceptable today. Just come out, man. Have a good time. Enjoy yourself."

Jason Collins remains the only openly gay athlete to have played in the NBA. John Amaechi, who played in the league for five years, came out after retiring from the sport.

Rodman, 58, is currently promoting his new ESPN 30 for 30, "Rodman: For Better or Worse."