Philander Rodman Jr., the estranged father of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, has passed away Tuesday in Mabalacat, Pampanga, his Filipino family based here in the Philippines confirmed.
He was 79.
Jasmine Rodman, granddaughter of Philander, made the announcement on her Facebook account on the same day.
According to multiple reports, Darling Marie, Philander’s daughter, made a Twitter account with the username @iamJ1993 in the hopes of reaching out to Dennis.
Philander was a former member of the US Air Force who fought during the Vietnam War.
In 1965, Philander left his first wife and Dennis before settling in the Philippines.
He owned a burger joint named “Rodman’s Rainbow Obamaburger” based in Angeles City. His restaurant menu includes burgers with colored buns – red, yellow and green – similar to Dennis’ hair colors during his NBA heydays.
In a 1996 Associated Press article, then 56-year-old Philander revealed that he has not seen Dennis for 26 years.
The article also stated that Philander, who’s been in and out of jail that time, decided to leave the military after being accused of theft.
In a separate AP article posted on Yahoo! Sports, Philander acknowledged fathering 29 children by 16 women.
Philander first attempted to meet Dennis during an exhibition game in Manila in May 2006 but got turned down.
Six years later, in July 2012, Philander had another chance to meet Dennis during the NBA All-Star Challenge that featured basketball greats Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant and Mitch Richmond at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Philander wanted to explain to his son that “he didn’t abandon his family in the United States.”
After 42 years of separation, within a short three-minute period, the two only had time for “greetings and handshakes” as Dennis continued signing autographs.
”I’ve been trying to meet him for years. And then last night, boom, I met him. I was really, really happy and very surprised,” Philander told The Associated Press. ”I really, really felt good. It’s the beginning of something new.”
At some point during a break, with seconds left before the final buzzer rings, Dennis grabbed a microphone, acknowledged his father’s presence and pointed to Philander.
Philander, wearing a red baseball cap that read “Yes, Dennis Rodman is my son,” stood up as the whole crowd applauded for the momentous event, the report added.
“I don’t hate the guy that brought me into this world,” Dennis told reporters. “The fact is, if I saw him, I’ll just tell him, ‘You know, you’re a friend of mine.’”