Dennis Rodman's friendship with nutty North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is a bad look. The NBA legend has always been known as an odd duck, but his emergence as America's most visible defender of a egomaniacal madman is a truly odd turn that should make him a pariah in respectable society.
What it should not do, however, is make anyone rethink his basketball legacy, which is the goal of The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. The organization has recently launched a petition to have The Worm ejected from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for his "one-man PR campaign" on behalf of the North Korean regime.
According to the Hall’s Board of Trustees, a candidate may be removed if he or she “has damaged the integrity of the game of basketball.” Clearly, Rodman’s actions have tarnished the name and reputation of basketball and it is time that he is removed from the Hall of Fame. Doing so will send a message that all facets of American society, from sports to politics, will stand firm for our shared values and reject the shameless coddling of murderous dictatorial regimes.
Rodman is, without doubt, doing the bidding of a bad dude when he defends Kim--most recently North Korea has blood on its hands with the death of American college student Otto Warmbier. But it's hard to argue that he's "damaged the integrity" of basketball anymore than he already has. Anyway, he earned his spot in the Hall, not though his work on behalf of the game's integrity, but because of his work on the boards.
Lest we forget, Rodman was perhaps the most dominant rebound artist in NBA history. In his best season he averaged 18.7 rebounds per game. His career average was 13.1 per-game, which is 11th all-time and the best ever for a player in the past 35 years. For a record seven consecutive years he led the NBA in boards, something Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain never did.
A case can be made that Rodman doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame for basketball reasons—He was never much of a scoring threat and his career petered out like a legend's never should.—but it's a bad case that hinges on the idea that only all-around players belong in the Hall of Fame.
Rodman should be ejected from polite society for befriending and defending a evil man, but that's got nothing to with basketball.