Rodman leads 2011 Hall of Fame class


HOUSTON, April 5- Former Chicago Bulls flamboyant forward Dennis Rodman and European star Arvydas Sabonis head the 2011 class for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Rodman and Sabonis were joined by fellow former National Basketball Association players Chris Mullin, Artis Gilmore and Tom Sanders a members of the 2011 class. Harlem Globetrotter Reece "Goose" Tatum and NBA coach Tex Winter were also part of the large contingent named on Monday.

The class will be formally inducted in Springfield, Massachusetts in August.

"It’s cool, man. It’s a great feeling," Rodman said.

Rodman, who turns 50 next month, was considered one of the best two-way players in the NBA and was twice named defensive player of the year. He was also known for his outrageous behaviour and hard partying.

Rodman, who dated Madonna and was married briefly to Carmen Electra, showed up for Monday’s announcement wearing jeans, a leopard scarve and a white shirt with gold sequined cuffs.

In 2000, Rodman pleaded guilty to drink driving and in 2008 he was arrested on domestic violence charges. He has also been in and out of drug rehabilitation treatment centres.

Mullin was a member of the 1992 US Olympic basketball team.

"The biggest thing is my coaches," said Mullin. "Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca at St. John’s, in the NBA, I had so many great people to look up to."

Sabonis, of Lithuania, was named Euroleague’s MVP and was two-time European Player of the Year.

He was considered one of the top passing centres of all-time and won Olympic gold while playing for the former Soviet Union. He also played in the NBA for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Winter was also part of nine NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.