‘The Worm’

Dennis Rodman.  The name alone seems to carry its own connotation.  If we were playing a word association game, what one word would come to your mind when you hear his name?  Freak?  Bizarre?  Chances are that whatever word first popped  into your frontal lobe, it was neither ‘greatness’ or ‘legend.’  This of course is a fault of his own, but in actuality Dennis Rodman fits all of these adjectives.  Receiving “the call” to be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is the last and most powerful validation for a career that was probably outshined by all things non-basketball.  Sure he kicked a cameraman and put piercings where they should never go, but what this dude did on the court is probably more freakish than anything he did off of it.  I’ve heard people give props to Rodman saying that he was a great rebounder and then follow it with “but he couldn’t shoot to save his life”, or some like version diminishing him as a player.  What most fail to realize is that when you do one thing as good as Rodman did rebounding, you don’t have to do anything else.  Most folks, especially the younger crowd like myself, don’t fully comprehend how great of a rebounder and defender Rodman actually was.  And lets start there, with the defense.  Rodman was brought into the NBA originally because of his defensive capability, not just his rebounding.  The Pistons plan was to throw him on the opposing team’s best player and have his intensity and length cause fits, which it did.  But go back and look how many boards Rodman averaged after his first two years in the L.  About six, by no means staggering figures.  But somehow in between 1990 and 1992, a beast was invented.  A completely one-dimensional animal.  Rodman’s rebounding literally doubled as he went out on a nightly basis and averaged a mind-blowing 18.7 rebounds a game in 1991-92.  If a guy has 18 rebounds in a game in today’s game, chances are he led the entire NBA that night.  This man Rodman did that over a 82 game season!  Think about the giant chunk of a basketball game that is rebounding.  You have to do it on both ends of the floor before you can ever score it.  Rodman alleviated his Pistons and Bulls teams from ever worrying about it.  Hustle?  Heart?  Those words have a direct translation: ‘Rodman’.   Dennis would study players in the film room too.  Not like most guys who were trying to figure out how opponents were scoring, but to figure out where their misses were bouncing when they weren’t scoring so he could gobble rebounds.  But because Rodman was so out of his freaking mind, we first remember his two stints on Celebrity Apprentice and Celebrity Rehab before we remember his two stints as the NBA’s defensive player of the year.  I mean the dude got married…in Vegas…in a dress.  It’s my feeling that his antics, and his antics alone, that keep us from calling him the greatest rebounder to ever play this game.  Even when 7-foot center Wilt Chamberlin was averaging an ungodly 25 rebounds a game against guys half his size in the 1960’s, he was never able to lead the league in rebounds for more than 4 years in a row.  Rodman, on the other hand, was a 6-foot 8 forward and led the NBA in rebounds for a record seven straight seasons in the 1990’s when the game of basketball was far more developed across the board.  It’s my opinion that we’ll never see it again.  For as historic of a season that Kevin Love is having in Minnesota (And it is historic), Rodman did what Love is doing for nearly a decade!  Put it like this, KLove, the best rebounder in the NBA, has had one game this season where he finished with 25 or more rebounds (31 against New York)…Rodman pulled down 25 or more boards 33 times!  Since 1984, the next closest guy to that mark is Charles Barkley…with six games.   Oh, and if you were wondering about where DRodman stacks up to Love’s 30 board outing, he did that feat 5 different times.  During one particular game, Rodman had 21 rebounds…in a half!  15 rebounds…in a quarter!  The numbers are laughable.  The dude just had a motor that wouldn’t stop.  It’s hard to believe that his motor likely runs hotter for longer when he gets his party on.  I remember being a kid at my grandmother’s house hearing Rodman tell a story on late night TV about being unconscious in a hotel room after nearly overdosing, when his buddies thought it would be a good idea to cut open his stomach to let the drugs out, a theory that puzzles me to this day.  Luckily Rodman says he woke up just as they were about to “save him”.  Remember Rodman calling that Miami morning show earlier this year claiming he wanted to talk about LeBron and the Heat only to find out he’d been up all night partying with some women and was more interested in his sexual encounter with her than talking on live radio?  That’s Dennis Rodman for you.  All he did was live his life off of the court with the same reckless abandon that he did on it.  He’s clearly one of the strangest guys to ever walk the earth, let alone play professional sports.  But all the crazy hair, bird flipping, and movies made with Steven Seagal will never interfere with my ability to judge him as baller first, bizarre second. 

The best Dennis Rodman mix you’ll find…

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3 Responses to ‘The Worm’

  1. T 5e says:

    Hall of famer in my opinion, no doubt. I also wud like to tear up a nightspot with Rodman.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Rodman is a beast. I also hopes this helps squash the notion that has somehow grown that MJ won 6 titles on his own.

  3. Jack says:

    I wanna party with the worm

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