This Weekend the Detroit Pistons raised “Number 10” Dennis Rodman’s Jersey to the rafters at Aurburn Hill. Congratulations Dennis for an incredible career and we cast our vote in favor to your induction into the NBA’s Hall of Fame. Here is a look at your career.
|Rodman with the Chicago Bulls during the 1995–96 season|
|No. 10, 91, 73, 70
|Small forward, Power forward|
|Date of birth||May 13, 1961 (1961-05-13) (age 49)|
|Place of birth||Trenton, New Jersey|
|High school||South Oak Cliff HS (Dallas, Texas)|
|Listed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Listed weight||220 lb (100 kg)|
|College||Southeastern Oklahoma State|
|NBA Draft||1986 / Round: 2 / Pick: 27th overall|
|Selected by the Detroit Pistons|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Dennis Keith Rodman (born May 13, 1961) is a retired American professional basketball player of the National Basketball Association‘s (NBA) Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. Born in Trenton, New Jersey, he was nicknamed “Dennis the Menace” and “The Worm” and was known for his fierce defensive and rebounding abilities. Playing small forward in his early years before becoming a power forward, Rodman earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors seven times and was voted NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice. He also led the NBA in rebounds per game for a record seven consecutive years and won five NBA championships (1989, 1990, 1996, 1997, 1998). His biography at NBA.com states that he is “arguably the best rebounding forward in NBA history”. The Pistons announced that on April 1, 2011, they will retire Rodman’s #10 jersey that he wore throughout his tenure there.
Experiencing an unhappy childhood, Rodman was shy and introverted in his early years. After aborting a suicide attempt in 1993, he reinvented himself as the prototypical “bad boy” and became notorious for numerous controversial antics. He dyed his hair in artificial colors, presented himself with many piercings and tattoos and regularly disrupted games by clashing with opposing players and officials. He famously wore a wedding dress to promote his autobiography. Rodman pursued a high-profile affair with singer Madonna and was briefly married to actress Carmen Electra.
Apart from basketball, Rodman is a part-time professional wrestler. He was a member of the nWo and fought alongside Hulk Hogan at two Bash at the Beach events. He had his own TV show, The Rodman World Tour, and had lead roles in the action films Simon Sez and Double Team alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme. Both films were severely critically panned, with the latter earning Rodman a triple Razzie Award. He appeared in several reality TV series and was the winner of the $222,000 main prize of the 2004 edition of Celebrity Mole. Rodman also won the first ever Celebrity Championship Wrestling tournament.
Rodman made himself eligible for the 1986 NBA Draft. He was drafted by the Detroit Pistons as the 27th pick in the second round, joining the rugged team of coach Chuck Daly that was called “Bad Boys” for their hard-nosed approach to basketball. The squad featured Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars at the guard positions, Adrian Dantley and Sidney Green at forward, and center Bill Laimbeer. Bench players who played more than 15 minutes per game were sixth man Vinnie Johnson and the backup forwards Rick Mahorn and John Salley. Rodman fit well into this ensemble, providing 6.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and some tough defense in 15.0 minutes of playing time per game. Winning 52 games, the Pistons comfortably entered the 1987 NBA Playoffs. They swept the Washington Bullets and soundly beat the Atlanta Hawks in five games, but bowed out in seven matches against their archrivals Boston Celtics in what was called one of the physically and mentally toughest series ever. Rodman feuded with Celtics guard Dennis Johnson, taunting him in the closing seconds by waving his right hand over his head. When the Celtics took Game Seven, Johnson went back at Rodman in the last moments of the game and mimicked his taunting gesture. After the loss, Rodman made headlines by directly accusing Celtics star Larry Bird of being overrated because he was white: “Larry Bird is overrated in a lot of areas. …Why does he get so much publicity? Because he’s white. You never hear about a black player being the greatest.” Although teammate Thomas supported him, he endured harsh criticism, but avoided being called a racist because, according to him, his own girlfriend Anicka “Annie” Bakes was white.
In the following 1987–88 season, Rodman steadily improved his stats, averaging 11.6 points and 8.7 rebounds and starting in 32 of 82 regular season games. The Pistons fought their way into the 1988 NBA Finals, and took a 3–2 lead, but lost in seven games against the Los Angeles Lakers. In Game Six, the Pistons were down by one point with eight seconds to go; Dumars missed a shot, and Rodman just fell short of an offensive rebound and a putback which could have won the title. In Game Seven, L.A. led by 15 points in the fourth quarter, but Rodman’s defense helped cut down the lead to six with 3:52 minutes to go and to two with one minute to go. But then, he fouled Magic Johnson, who hit a free throw, missed an ill-advised shot with 39 seconds to go, and the Pistons never recovered. In that year, his girlfriend Annie bore him a daughter named Alexis.
After just falling short of an NBA title, Rodman entered the 1988–89 season. Still coming off the bench, he averaged nine points and nine rebounds in 26 minutes, providing such effective defense that he was voted into the All-Defensive Team, the first of eight times. In that season, the Pistons finally vanquished their playoffs bane by sweeping the Boston Celtics, winning in six games versus the Chicago Bulls of scoring champion Michael Jordan and easily defeating the Lakers with 4–0 in the 1989 NBA Finals. Although he was hampered by back spasms, Rodman dominated the boards, grabbing 19 rebounds in Game 3 and providing tough interior defense.
In the 1989–90 season, Detroit lost perennial defensive forward Rick Mahorn due to the expansion draft of the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was feared that the loss of Mahorn – average in talent, but high on hustle and widely considered a vital cog of the “Bad Boys” teams – would diminish the Pistons’ spirit, but Rodman seamlessly took over his role. He went on to win his first big individual accolade. Averaging nine points and 10 rebounds and starting in the last 43 regular season games, he established himself as the best defensive player in the game; during this period, the Pistons won 59 games, and Rodman was lauded by the NBA “for his defense and rebounding skills, which were unparalleled in the league”. For his feats, he won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award; he also connected on a .595 field goal percentage, which made him the most precise shooter of the league. In the 1990 NBA Playoffs, the Pistons beat the Bulls again, and in the 1990 NBA Finals, Detroit met the Portland Trail Blazers. Rodman suffered from an injured ankle and was often replaced by Mark Aguirre, but even without his defensive hustle, Detroit beat Portland in five games and claimed their second title.
After winning his second NBA championship ring, Rodman entered the 1990–91 season. In that year, he finally established himself as the starting small forward of the Pistons. He played such strong defense that the NBA stated he “could shut down any opposing player, from point guard to center”. After coming off the bench for most of his earlier years, he finally started in 77 of the 82 regular season games, averaged 8.2 points and 12.5 rebounds and won his second Defensive Player of the Year Award. In the 1991 NBA Playoffs however, the Pistons were swept by the championship-winning Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Finals. It was the 1991–92 season where Rodman made a remarkable leap in his rebounding, collecting an astounding 18.7 rebounds per game (1,530 in total), winning his first of seven consecutive rebounding crowns, along with scoring 9.8 points per game, and made his first All-NBA Team. His 1,530 rebounds (the most since Wilt Chamberlain‘s 1,572 in the 1971–72 season) have never been surpassed since then; the best mark not set by Rodman is credited to Kevin Willis, who grabbed 1,258 boards in 1991–92. In a March 1992 game, he totaled a career high 34 total rebounds. However, the aging Pistons were eliminated by the upcoming New York Knicks in the First Round of the 1992 NBA Playoffs.
Rodman experienced a tough loss when coach Chuck Daly resigned in May, whom he had admired as a surrogate father; Rodman skipped the preseason camp and was fined $68,000. The following 1992–93 season was even more tumultuous. He finally married Annie Bakes in September 1992, the mother of his four year old daughter Alexis, but the marriage went sour quickly and Bakes divorced him in December, an experience which left him traumatized. The Pistons won only 40 games and missed the 1993 NBA Playoffs entirely. One night in February 1993, Rodman was found asleep in his car with a loaded rifle. Four years later in his biography As Bad As I Wanna Be, he confessed having thought about suicide and described that night as an epiphany: “I decided that instead [of killing myself] I was gonna kill the impostor that was leading Dennis Rodman to a place he didn’t want to go… So I just said, ‘I’m going to live my life the way I want to live it and be happy doing it.’ At that moment I tamed [sic] my whole life around. I killed the person I didn’t want to be.” Although he had three years and $11.8 million remaining on his contract, Rodman demanded a trade. On October 1, 1993, the Pistons dealt him to the San Antonio Spurs.