ORANGE — A disheveled, chubby, out-of-breath lawyer walked into a family courtroom tugging at two boxes of files on a dolly.
Sounds like the start to a joke, but to NBA Hall of Famer and former Newport Beach resident Dennis Rodman, Jack Kayajanian, his ex-wife's lawyer, was no laughing matter.
"You guys are working me," Kayajanian said, trying to be humorous.
Rodman rolled his eyes and calmly responded, "No, you're working me, bro."
Rodman was mostly referring to a highly charged, and mostly false, press release Kayajanian sent to the media Monday.
There have been many sides to Rodman throughout his life. There was the ringleader of the NBA's Bad Boys when he played for the Detroit Pistons. There was the weirdo who dressed up in a wedding dress or the boy-toy publicity stunt for Madonna.
Some recently saw a heartfelt side to him during his passionate Hall of Fame induction speech.
Remember those different shades he had for his afro?
Well, he sported a natural gray for his 'fro at the Lamoreaux Justice Center on Tuesday.
He was in town for a child-support hearing with his third ex-wife, Michelle Rodman, and their two children, ages 9 and 10. He still gets along with Michelle, who lives in Costa Mesa. The two had dinner together Monday night and went out to lunch during the break of a full day of court proceedings.
"We're pretty cool, except sometimes we have issues about the kids," Michelle said during the lunch break. "That's pretty much the only time we have problems."
You would think they would have problems after Michelle's lawyer sent out a press release saying Rodman owed $808,935 in back child support and faced possible jail time. Michelle said she never knew of the press release and it bothered her. She was especially angry that Kayajanian included the names of the children in the release.
Rodman also didn't like that.
"That's sucks, man," he said. "I don't care what you say about me, but leave my kids out of it. Blast me, but don't blast my kids."
Turns out jail time for Rodman is unlikely. Commissioner Barry S. Michaelson stressed there would be no jail for Rodman when he returns May 29 for sentencing on charges for contempt of court. He's likely to get community service time instead.
Kayajanian claimed Rodman owed $50,000 a month for a contempt order. Michaelson said that was an unreasonable amount, and all that back money was thrown out after both lawyers accepted what began as Michaelson's tentative ruling.
Rodman, who lives in Miami, pays $3,500 per month in child support.
Kayajanian appeared reckless with the press release. He mostly looked clumsy and unprepared in court on Tuesday.
Rodman said the lawyer was just trying to make a name for himself. It also appeared Kayajanian was trying to bring down the famous rebounder known as the Worm.
The people close to Dennis know, for the most part, that any other person can't wreck him. His only danger has been himself.
On Tuesday he managed to save face and seems to have shot down a theory of jail time. But the ball is in his court for what comes next.
STEVE VIRGEN is the sports editor of the Daily Pilot. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.