Watch: That Time Dennis Rodman Jumped on Stage with Pearl Jam
Tonight, the best and brightest of the NBA will descend on New York City to signal the start of All-Star Weekend. LeBron James will also be there. The weekend is a chance for the game’s best, as voted on by the fans, to showcase their unique and incomprehensible set of skills culminating in the actual All-Star Game, or as it’s better known, a three-quarter scrimmage that all of a sudden becomes serious in the last twelve minutes.
To celebrate, it only seems appropriate to revisit one of the deeper bromances in both music and sports, as we uncover the depth of Dennis Rodman’s Pearl Jam fandom. Rodman was a menace when he played, both on and off the court. He still is, really. So it’s only fitting that he latched onto Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam’s rebellious, don’t-give-a-fuck ways of the mid and late 90s. The partnership works both ways too as Eddie Vedder is also a huge Chicago Bulls fan, the team Rodman helped win multiple championships. During the band’s July 5, 1998 show in Dallas, Rodman was in attendance (he was also most recently spotted at the band’s Barclays Center shows in 2013) and went full-Rodman, jumping on stage at every opportunity shirtless with a cigar hanging out of his mouth.
The visuals are much better than words could ever describe. Shirtless, straw hat-wearing, 6’7″ Dennis Rodman intimidating the hell out of these tiny rock stars from Seattle. Rodman hits Vedder with a bear hug so fierce you’d have thought there was a crucial loose ball at stake. It’s all fun and games though, as Vedder invites him to hang out, drink his wine and chill in a stool on stage.
The frontman and Chicago Bulls star have a deep-rooted friendship as well, as Rodman has cited Vedder as an inspiration. “I could feel his music, the vibe in his voice,” Rodman said. “Knowing the trials and tribulations he went through with his mother and family and to go out and just sing and make people listen to him really motivated me. I still listen to him today.” Watch a pair of clips from that Dallas show including “Hail Hail” and “Alive.” Alas, video of Rodman giving Vedder a piggyback ride in 1996 has yet to surface.