Even for Dennis Rodman, this was dragging new depths of self-promotion.
There he was in all his glory - white wedding gown, bright red lipstick, blonde wig, twin nose rings - in a horse-drawn carriage in the middle of New York City on a summer afternoon.
On Fifth Avenue for a book-signing, the tattooed one vowed he was going to get married the next day in Rockefeller Center.
No nuptials ever took place. But it really didn’t matter - sports fans saw a lot of things that were hard to believe in 1996. A streaker at Wimbledon. A 12-year-old boy nearly making the biggest catch of the baseball season. A 40,000-pound scoreboard crashing to the ice at Buffalo’s new NHL arena.
Hard to believe what some people heard, too. Isaiah Rider got an earful from his mother. She walked halfway across the court in Minnesota, telling her Timberwolves son to leave after being ejected from an NBA game. Jim Stahl heard it from Tom Weiskopf. Stahl, the U.S. Senior Amateur champion, was berated by the former British Open winner for - among other things - marking his ball with a shiny quarter rather than a non-reflective penny during the first round of the U.S. Senior Open.
Michael Jordan and Rodney Dangerfield also had it rough.
Jordan, perhaps the most popular athlete in the world, was booed by fans at the All-Star game who felt Shaquille O’Neal should have won the MVP award.
Dangerfield made the mistake of telling an off-color joke during a performance at an NBA playoff game in Utah, of all places. Not only did Dangerfield get no respect, he got the silent treatment.
“Tough crowd here, tough crowd,” Jazz guard John Stockton said.
And, the craziness certainly didn’t end there. What about the chair-waving melee at Madison Square Garden after Andrew Golota was disqualified for landing low blows against Riddick Bowe? Never mind that Golota was disqualified again for the same thing in their rematch - minus the brawl - in Atlantic City. How about the high school football player in New Mexico who wore a razor-sharp helmet buckle to cut opponents? He was banned for one year after injuring five players.
Jeffrey Maier was unknown, pretty much, until he reached over the right-field fence at Yankee Stadium and tried to catch a fly ball by Derek Jeter. The ball wound up being called a home run, Maier wound up on front pages and the Yankees eventually wound up as World Series champions.
Melissa Johnson made her mark, so to speak, at Centre Court in Wimbledon. Topless, the 23-year-old woman ran past Richard Krajicek and MaliVai Washington as they posed near the net for photographs before the final match, lifting up her tiny maid’s apron as she passed.
For wacky, there was Dani Tyler’s trip around the bases at the Olympics. Her home run would’ve been enough for the U.S. softball team to beat Australia, except that she forgot to touch home plate. Instead, the Americans lost 2-1 in 10 innings.
For odd, there was golfer Robert Allenby’s appearance at the Volvo Masters in Spain. Despite fracturing his sternum in a car accident a month earlier, he needed to take at least one swing to qualify for $116,000 in bonus money and a berth in the Masters.
So the 25-year-old Australian dribbled the ball 40 yards off the first tee, then withdrew from the PGA European Tour event. In a nice touch, Allenby announced he was donating all the bonus money to cancer charities in England and Australia.
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