Dennis Rodman and David Robinson were teammates for two seasons on the San Antonio Spurs. They could have been a lethal frontcourt duo. However, the two superstars didn’t get along on or off the court.
There were many reasons why Rodman and Robinson couldn’t co-exist. The latter had trouble connecting with the former since the Worm had an anomalous personality and the Admiral came from a military background. However, one of the leading causes of Rodman and Robinson’s tenuous relationship was what took place at practices.
Dennis Rodman didn’t respect David Robinson’s approach to practice
In 1998, author Roland Lazenby released his book called Blood On the Horns: The Long Strange Ride of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. During the Rodman chapter, former big man Jack Haley told Lazenby that Dennis the Menace didn’t respect Robinson’s approach to practice.
“Dennis had a real problem in his respect for David Robinson as a player,” Haley said in Lazenby’s book, via Chicago sports historian Jack M Silverstein. “He had problems with David’s intensity and work ethic in practice. One thing about Dave: Dave could be the most talented player and athlete in the NBA. Therefore, he’s not a big practice guy. Not a big work ethic guy. By [January], Dave would have sat out 30 practices. It’s tendinitis. It’s, ‘I’m sore today.’ Whatever it was, Dennis is a practice guy, and it didn’t sit well with Dennis. That caused a lot of problems.”
Despite Rodman and Robinson not having the best rapport, the Spurs won 55 games in 1993-94 and 62 in 1994-95. They made it to the 1995 Western Conference Finals, where they lost to the Houston Rockets in six games.
In the summer of 1995, the Spurs traded Rodman to the Chicago Bulls. While San Antonio lost the best rebounder in the game, Robinson had no issues with the trade since he felt Rodzilla was “destructive.”
David Robinson: Dennis Rodman showed up to practice late all the time
During the summer of 2020, when The Last Dance docuseries captivated the sports world, Robinson told the Bulls Talk podcast that Rodman was destructive to the Spurs since he showed up to practice late all the time.
“He’s an easy guy to like because he has a good heart,” Robinson said. “He wants to play hard. He wants to do the right things. 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.”
In 128 games with the Spurs, Rodman averaged 5.6 points and 17.1 rebounds. Meanwhile, Robinson put up 28.7 points and 10.8 rebounds per game while Demolition Man was his teammate. He also won the 1993-94 scoring title and the 1994-95 regular-season MVP.
Rodman and Robinson didn’t win a championship together. However, once they parted ways in 1995, both stars enjoyed success.
El Loco won three rings with the Bulls, D-Rob won two with the Spurs
Rodman won three straight championships with the Bulls in 1996, 1997, and 1998. Although he didn’t make an All-Star team during his three-year run in Chicago, he did win three consecutive rebounding titles. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year finished his career with five championships.
As for Robinson, he won two rings with the Spurs once the franchise got Tim Duncan in 1997. The lefty ended his legendary career with averages of 21.1 points and 10.6 rebounds.
Both Rodman and Robinson are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It’s unknown if they have patched things up after their failed partnership on the Spurs, but it’s evident that their personalities weren’t a match in the early ’90s.