Robinson, nicknamed ‘The Admiral,’ brought a calming presence to the Spurs throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Compare that to Rodman, the eccentric big man responsible for some of the strangest incidents from those decades.
Robinson and Rodman spent two seasons together in San Antonio. Earlier this year, Robinson admitted that he believed Rodman’s ‘destructive’ tendencies held the Spurs back.
David Robinson is a San Antonio Spurs legend
The top pick in 1987, David Robinson took a couple of years before he played his first game for the Spurs. Robinson sat out the 1987-88 and 1988-89 seasons in compliance with his naval duties.
When Robinson finally arrived at age 23, the talented big man quickly took over the NBA. Robinson made the All-Star Game in his first seven seasons, averaging 25.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.7 steals, and 3.6 blocks across that time.
In 14 full seasons, Robinson averaged 21.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, and three blocks per night. Robinson appeared on 10 All-NBA teams, had a 71-point game, and averaged a double-double in 123 playoff games.
Dennis Rodman spent two years with the Spurs
Although he is best known for his three years with the Chicago Bulls, Dennis Rodman spent most of his career — seven of his 14 seasons — on the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit traded Rodman and other assets, including two draft picks, to the Spurs in October 1993. Rodman averaged 5.6 points and an eye-popping 17.1 rebounds in 128 games and 77 starts for the Spurs across two seasons.
Rodman had a 32-rebound game in January 1994, which is tied for the sixth-highest total for one game in league history.
The dynamic big man contributed 8.8 points and 15 rebounds in 17 playoff games with the Spurs.
David Robinson believed Dennis Robinson was too ‘destructive’
The duo of David Robinson and Dennis Rodman could have very well ended in a championship.
Instead, the partnership lasted two years before San Antonio traded Rodman to Chicago. Rodman and Robinson each won championships in the coming years, but not together.
In an appearance on the Bulls Talk podcast earlier this year, Robinson called Rodman an “easy guy to like” and someone “who wants to do the right things.”
If those quotes sound like something that preceded Robinson saying, “but,” then you are correct. Mysanantonio.com transcribed Robinson’s comments.
“But man — as far as a team goes — he was so destructive to a team perspective because he’d show up to practice late and there was nothing you could do to make him get out of his comfort zone. “
Robinson did not play in the first game the Bulls and Spurs played following the trade. Rodman had seven points and 14 rebounds in the Bulls’ 97-88 victory on Nov. 30, 1996.
Rodman missed the second matchup between those teams later that year while serving a suspension.
The two finally squared off on Nov. 3, 1997. Rodman had three points and 22 rebounds in 46 minutes off the bench, while Robinson contributed 21 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, and four blocks.
Chicago won, 87-83, in double-overtime at home.