Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The 45 Most Important Players to the Chicago Bulls Dynasty - #4 Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman
Before he was America's greatest ambassador to North Korea, Dennis Rodman was actually a basketball player. He was also an actor and a professional wrestler, so the guy definitely stayed busy, but he still managed to find plenty of time to get in trouble. Between famous relationships with Carmen Electra, Madonna, and, uh, himself...
...not to mention run-ins with the law, alcohol abuse, and multiple books, it was quite the ride. His time management skills must have been impeccable. But for now, let's stick with the basketball side of things before touching on the extracurricular activities.

Rodman was drafted in the second round (27th overall) by the Detroit Pistons where he fit in well with the Bad Boy Pistons. Rodman was always a guy who was willing to do the dirty work, and where many players want more scoring opportunities as their career progresses, Rodman went the opposite direction as he averaged 11 points per game in his second year but would never average double-digit points again in his career. But Rodman was never known as he excelled on defense and rebounding, winning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year for the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons.

He would spend his first seven years with the Pistons, winning two titles, before being traded to the San Antonio Spurs in a deal that got the Pistons Sean Elliott. After two years with the Spurs, he was traded to the Bulls for Will Perdue right before the beginning of the 1995-96 season.

Rodman continued to contribute by doing the dirty work for those Bulls teams. In his first year with the team, he was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First team, along with Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan, while leading the league in rebounding. Of course, this was not without incident, as he was suspended for six games for headbutting a referee.

In the playoffs, he played even better as the competition got tougher. That year, the Eastern Conference Finals may have been more important to the Bulls than even the NBA Finals. The Orlando Magic were the first team to eliminate a Jordan-led Bulls team since 1990. But in 1996, the Bulls went out and annihilated them, helped greatly by Dennis Rodman who both suffocated the Magic on defense and annoyed them with repeated offensive rebounds on offense. Hell, he even managed 11.5 points per game in the sweep of the Magic. He continued his great play in the Finals, highlighted by a 9 point, 19 rebound, 5 assist, 3 steals, and a block in the Championship clinching Game Six against the Seattle SuperSonics.

Rodman would turn 35 during the 1996-97 season, and his age began to show. He still led the league with over 16 rebounds per game, but he only managed to play in 55 games that season, partially due to missing 11 games after kicking a cameraman in the groin. In the playoffs he averaged just 28 minutes per game, down from 34 the year before and only managed 8.4 rebounds per game.

He would bounce back for the 1997-98 season as he managed to play in 80 games that year. Still, it was clear that he was not the same player he once was. In the playoffs, he played great early on, but as the games got more important in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals, Rodman's impact diminished, although the Bulls were still able to beat the Jazz in six games for their third straight title.

The Bulls would release him after the lockout where Rodman would play a partial season with the Los Angeles Lakers and another one with the Dallas Mavericks, but his antics far outweighed his contributions at that point in his career.

But this was okay as Rodman had plenty of hobbies outside of basketball. He was a professional wrestler, tagging up with Hulk Hogan and earning the nickname, "Rod The Bod," a nickname that is criminally left off of his basketball-reference page.

He would have singles runs against both Macho Man Randy Savage and Curt Hennig, but his greatest accomplishment may have been winning Hulk Hogan's Celebrity Wrestling tournament, besting the likes of Frank Stallone, Butterbean, and Screech.

Outside of the ring, Rodman was Commissioner of the Lingerie Football League in 2005, was on the Celebrity Apprentice in both 2009 and 2013, and may now be our best hope of avoiding a nuclear war with North Korea. All of this, and I still consider his greatest accomplishment marrying Carmen Electra, and then claiming that she forced him into the marriage. Now that is a baller move.

No comments:

Post a Comment