Dennis Rodman and Mike Tyson are two Hall of Famers who were at the top of their respective sports during their prime. Rodman did his damage on the basketball court, mainly with the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls. Tyson did his damage to his opponents inside the boxing ring. Both athletes had to overcome serious challenges during their upbringings and Rodman likened his life to Tyson’s when the two were together on a recent podcast episode of Hotboxin’ With Mike Tyson.
Rodman and Tyson’s professional careers
Drafted in the second round out of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Dennis Rodman wasn’t expected to have as big of an impact in the NBA as he wound up having. At 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds during his playing days, Rodman wasn’t supposed to be the rebounding champion that he was.
Rodman went on to lead the NBA in rebounding for seven straight seasons. Twice, he averaged more than 18 rebounds per game in a season. Rodman was also a tremendous defensive player as he was named an All-NBA Defensive Player for eight seasons. Rodman went on to win five NBA championships and was elected into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.
Mike Tyson became the youngest heavyweight boxing champion of all time, claiming the title when he was just 20 years old. Tyson won 50 professional fights in his career, 44 via knockout. In 12 of his first 19 bouts, Tyson knocked out his opponent in the first round. Today, Tyson is still known as one of the greatest boxers of all time.
Dennis Rodman sees similarities in his and Mike Tyson’s lives
In a recent podcast of Hotboxin’ With Mike Tyson, co-hosted by Eben Britton and Mike Tyson, Dennis Rodman came on a guest. As you may have expected, having both Tyson and Rodman in the room generated some unique conversation. Rodman, smoking a cigar while doing his talking, compared their successes in their sport and tied that in with their upbringings.
“Our life is so parallel as far as the way we were brought up and stuff like that,” Rodman said to Tyson. “We didn’t really have any guidance or direction. We just wanted to do our profession. But when you meet good people, in the beginning, that’s putting you in the right direction to do well, that’s very heartfelt. Once you’ve been abandoned when you’re a youth – between 12, 13, 14 years old – you feel like you lost. You have two directions, go to jail or die.”
Rodman went on to say their rough environment where they grew up and their failed marriages also were very similar. He recalled an interview Tyson did previously when he spoke about his kids and his failed marriages. Rodman said that interview hit home. “All the trials and tribulations of marriages he went through,” he said, “I was doing that same s**t and I’m still going through that today. I’m trying to get my head together and stay focused because I have a lot of life to live.”
Rodman said he and Tyson weren’t motivated by money
I had that desire to win. I didn’t give a s**t what it took. I’ll do the dirty work. I don’t give a s**t. At the end of the day, that ring is more important because once you get that ring, we all good. We all good.
Rodman pointed at Tyson and said it was the same for him. “Mike had one thing to do and it was beat your ass. I’m gonna do my job and that’s what I’m trained to do,” Rodman said. Rodman also reiterated money wasn’t a motivating factor for him. “It wasn’t about the money for me and I know it wasn’t about the money for him,” Rodman said, pointing at Tyson. “He wanted to do his job and I just wanted to do my job. I always say when I came up, when I was 25 years old, I said ‘I don’t give a s**t, I’ll play for a fu**ing dollar. I just wanna play.”