In October 1995, the Chicago Bulls traded Will Perdue to the San Antonio Spurs for Dennis Rodman, who had an intense rivalry with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen when he was on the Detroit Pistons. It was such a polarizing trade that Jordan, Pippen, and Phil Jackson met with Rodman at Jerry Krause‘s house to see if he was ready to play for the Bulls and put aside his checkered past with MJ and Pip.
Jackson, who is big on positive energy and genuine camaraderie, wanted to make sure Rodman and Pippen could work as teammates before the Bulls pulled the trigger on the trade. The Zen Master pulled Rodzilla aside and told him to approach Pippen during the meeting at Krause’s house, and the rest is history.
Phil Jackson told Dennis Rodman to apologize to Scottie Pippen
According to Chicago sports historian Jack M Silverstein, Jackson instructed Rodman to apologize to Pippen for his hard fouls during the Bad Boys days at Krause’s house before the Bulls officially acquired the rebounding machine from the Spurs.
“Jackson conferred with Jordan and Pippen later that day,” Silverstein wrote in his book, How The GOAT Was Built: 6 Life Lessons From the 1996 Chicago Bulls. “As Rodman tells it, they all met at Krause’s house, with Jackson instructing Rodman to apologize to Pippen for his hard fouls during the Bad Boys days. Pippen accepted the apology; he and Jordan signed off on the trade.”
When Rodman was on the Pistons, he performed several dirty fouls on Jordan and Pippen. Many pundits didn’t think the Bulls superstars would accept the two-time Defensive Player of the Year. However, those naysayers were wrong.
Bulls won three consecutive rings after getting Dennis Rodman
The Bulls were nearly unbeatable after acquiring Rodman. They won 72 games in 1995-96, 69 in 1996-97, and 62 in 1997-98. Chicago captured three straight rings during the Rodman era, and the Worm led the league in rebounding during his three-year stint with the Bulls.
In 199 games with Chicago, Rodman averaged 5.2 points and 15.3 rebounds. Even though he had an eccentric personality, Jackson appreciated what his big man brought to the table.
“Dennis is always a rebel at some point,” Jackson said during the 1997-98 season. “He wants to join the group, but the other part of him wants to be autonomous. So, we appreciate the fact that he’s a maverick, but yet when it comes time for him to perform, he’s always on the court for us, always playing hard for us.”
It certainly took Pippen some time to get used to playing with Rodman after having so many battles with Demolition Man. However, the seven-time All-Star eventually came around to him since he witnessed how impactful the New Jersey native was.
Scottie Pippen: Dennis the Menace knows how to play his role well
In Episode 3 of ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries, Pippen said Rodman perfectly fit in with the Bulls and played his role well during the second three-peat.
“If he do his job, then we’re going to love him,” Pippen said. “Play basketball and win. That’s it. That’s what he did. Dennis knows how to play his role well. He has a great understanding of what it takes to win. He’s a huge reason for our success.”
Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, and Jackson are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. They had tremendous success as a foursome, which is fascinating since there was a time when Jordan and Pippen hated Rodman.