The Iconic Moment Dennis Rodman Claimed to Marry Himself

'The Last Dance' has put the spotlight on Dennis Rodman, reminding fans of that iconic moment in 1996 when he wore a wedding dress and claimed to marry himself.

dennis rodman signs his autobiography august 21, 1996 in new york city rodman arrived in a horse drawn carriage dressed in a wedding gown to launch his new book called bad as i wanna be photo by evan agostiniliaison
(Image credit: Evan Agostini)

If there's anything that ESPN docuseries The Last Dance taught us, it's that Dennis Rodman (opens in new tab) always brings the best, most interesting drama. His appearance in the series, ostensibly about Michael Jordan and the 1997-8 Chicago Bulls, makes for utterly scene-stealing content—a whirlwind trip to Vegas, a reinvention complete with intense physical changes, a record-breaking career even with everything going on in his personal life—just to name a tiny portion of the fascinating stories about him. Although it's not explicitly covered in the series, Rodman's presence has reminded fans about one of his most iconic moments, ever: That one time in 1996 the 6'7" player dressed in a custom-made wedding dress, said he was bisexual, and claimed he'd be marrying himself.

In his memoir, Rodman explained (opens in new tab) that he began cross-dressing at an early age as a young person growing up primarily among woman. "I don’t remember the first time I decided to do it as an adult...It was more of a gradual thing, where it progressed from earrings and fingernails to halter tops and tight leather shorts." He added, "When I cross-dress now, it’s just another way I can show all the sides of Dennis Rodman. I’m giving you the whole package. I’m becoming the all-purpose person."

To promote said memoir, Bad as I Wanna Be, Rodman apparently (opens in new tab) got the inspiration from Howard Stern—who'd just done something similar when promoting his own book. But Rodman took the idea and wholly made it his own, per CNN: "It was the entire look: from his Kevyn Aucoin runway makeup to the throng of tuxedo-clad women escorting him from a horse-drawn carriage into a Barnes & Noble on Fifth Avenue."

It totally worked—thousands of people showed up to watch, it made international news, and the memoir was on the New York Times bestseller list for over four months. Besides the media frenzy, Rodman's credited for being an early icon, who inspired others with self-expression without pretense or worry about backlash.

Rodman even parodied his iconic moment in promotions for his 30 for 30 biopic:

And spoke about the event, saying that the reaction was unexpected but countering that "That was the beginning of the rockstar Dennis Rodman."

Fans have remarked recently that it's just one of the ways Rodman was ahead of his time.

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Which is great to see.

WATCH 'THE LAST DANCE' ON ESPN+ (opens in new tab)

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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.