AP Basketball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Even Dennis Rodman laughs at the idea.
"Kind of funny, huh?" he said.
It's true, though. One of basketball's most outrageous personalities has written a book for kids.
The Hall of Famer's book, "Dennis The Wild Bull," came out Wednesday and fans will immediately recognize Rodman's influence. The large red bull on the cover has flowing red hair, two nose rings, a tattoo and red stubble under his chin.
"They'll see me, literally see me. They'll say, `Wow, this is just like him,'" Rodman said in a phone interview.
And he deals with the same issues.
Rodman, known as much for his wacky looks and lifestyle off the court as his considerable success on it, said the purpose of the book is simple.
"More than anything, I just want little kids today just to understand, ain't no matter what you do in life, be different, rich or poor man, guess what, it's OK to be who you are pretty much and you'll be accepted," Rodman said.
Rodman already wrote books about his personal life _ the wild nights as a player, relationships with Madonna and Carmen Electra, and everything that allowed him to be famous long after he finished winning five championships with Detroit and Chicago.
The author whose previous works include titles such as "Bad as I Wanna Be" and "I Should Be Dead by Now" chose a different audience this time. He said even now he is still recognized by children who never saw him play, and those are the ones he wanted to reach.
"For a guy like me to be very eccentric, to even go to extremes to write a children's book with all the wild things I do and make it believable was pretty much incredible," Rodman said.
Co-written with Dustin Warburton, the book tells the story of Dennis, a bull who is captured away from his family and forced to live with other bulls in a rodeo. Though he looks nothing like them, they come to accept him and he becomes friends with them.
"Once I got to know the other bulls, I liked them," Rodman said. "I enjoyed their company and stuff like that, and they accepted me for who I am no matter how I look."
Dennis becomes so close with them that when he plots his escape to return to his family, he makes sure his new friends can come with him. Dennis originally was to escape alone until Rodman decided to change the ending.
"That's not really Dennis. Dennis thought it was so cool that these other bulls accepted him and he stayed loyal to them. He wanted to see his family but he wanted these other bulls to come along," said Darren Prince, Rodman's marketing agent. "Anybody that knows the real Dennis Rodman knows how loyal he is to anybody that he's close with and Dennis didn't like that part, so they tweaked it at the end."
Rodman, ordered to pay $500,000 in back child support to his ex-wife last month, acknowledges a couple of his children on the cover, where two little bulls are pictured in front of Dennis.
The book is available on Rodman's website, http://www.dennisrodman.com, and Amazon for $16. His web site also has information regarding upcoming book signings in the New York area and Chicago.
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