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NBA Legend Dennis Rodman Turned Down Starring Role on Tom Cruise’s “Jerry Maguire”, the $273.6 Million Box Office Hit, Despite a Hidden Inspiration

Published 09/04/2022, 9:30 AM EDT

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NBA legend Dennis Rodman has appeared in various interviews and shows over the years. And in one of his appearances, he inspired a character in Tom Cruise’s movie Jerry Maguire. And despite being offered the role which was inspired by him, Rodman turned down a part in the $273.6 million box office hit.

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The movie had some iconic characters and one of them was Rob Tidwell, which was played by Cuba Gooding Jr. At that time Gooding Jr. was not a big-time actor and many say this gave him his big break. But this role was originally intended for Dennis Rodman after the director saw him come on Close Up and watched him tear up.


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Dennis Rodman inspired the character but refused to play it himself

The character was inspired when Rodman broke down on national television in an interview with Roy Firestone. The director of the movie, Cameron Crowe, said this made the character for Rodman. But Rodman turned it down.

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Roy, who was also in the movie, was talking about how it came about. He said, “When Rodman cried, that’s when Cameron Crowe called us and they wanted to do the scene from Jerry Maguire. Originally, Rodman was gonna be Rod Tidwell – people don’t know that … he turned down the role.”


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“He was going to play Rod Tidwell.” 

It’s not often to see movie characters being inspired by real-life athletes. And it’s even rarer to see a persona like Rodman being that person who inspired a character. And what’s probably even rarer is that same person being offered the role.


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But Rodman was not interested at the time as he was heavily involved with the Chicago Bulls. They were in the midst of a championship run and Rodman likely did not want the distraction.

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If Rodman had taken that role instead of Gooding Jr., we may have seen a new star born. Rodman could have been a part of several other movies and potentially even made another career out of it. And Cuba Gooding Jr. may never have gotten his big break. To his luck, Rodman turned down the role and Gooding Jr. made it to Hollywood.

Do you think Dennis Rodman would have done a good job playing Rod Tidwell? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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Written by:

Vishwesha Kumar


One take at a time

Vishwesha Kumar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Holder of a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, Vishwesha has been writing content for about 3 years now. He has been following the NBA for nearly 10 years, since first starting off in the year 2012.
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Edited by:

Veer Badani