Other than playing basketball, Dennis Rodman and David Robinson didn’t share many similarities. Robinson was Mr. Nice Guy, all business on and off the court. Rodman was that flamboyant chemistry disruptor who always drew attention to himself.
Rodman spent two years as Robinson’s teammate with the San Antonio Spurs, leading the league in rebounding. Despite his success on the court, few members of the Spurs were sad to see him go in a trade for Will Perdue.
Statistically, Dennis Rodman had two strong seasons with the San Antonio Spurs
Rodman joined the Spurs for the 1993-94 season and did what he was supposed to do on the court — rebound. In his first year with the team, he earned his third straight rebounding title by pulling down 17.3 boards per game. He made it four straight the following season (16.8).
He played 79 games, starting 51, during the 1993-94 season, averaging better than 37 minutes per game. The Spurs won 55 games that season but were swept by the Utah Jazz in the opening round of the playoffs.
The following season, Rodman was suspended multiple times and was injured in a motorcycle accident. He played 49 games but was able to pull down 823 rebounds. The Spurs finished with a league-best 62 wins and earned a berth in the Western Conference Finals.
After the Spurs lost to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets in the WCF, Rodman blasted the team. He called out the front office and head coach Bob Hill. The Spurs traded Rodman to the Chicago Bulls for center Will Perdue prior to the 1995-96 season.
David Robinson wasn’t sad to see Dennis Rodman leave the Spurs
Although the Spurs won 55 games or better in each of the two seasons with Rodman, many players, including center David Robinson, were happy to see Rodman go. It was evident the team wanted him gone as the only return for the rebounding leader was Perdue, a center who averaged 4.7 points and 4.9 rebounds for his career.
Robinson wasn’t shy about how he felt about Rodman leaving the team.
“It was like a zoo last year,” Robinson told Sports Illustrated in October 1995. “Now we’ll be able to just focus on basketball. There won’t be any of that other garbage. Everyone is relieved.”
Many players on the team believed Rodman wasn’t a team player and thought they could have gotten over the hump had he been one.
“We had a championship-caliber group of guys with Dennis,” said Robinson.
Robinson wasn’t alone with his feelings. Sean Elliott believed Rodman’s absence would improve the team’s chemistry.
“We are a quiet bunch,” Elliott said. “We are probably the best team, getting along-wise, in the league.”
Rodman got the last laugh
Although Robinson and the Spurs were happy to see Rodman go, Rodman wound up getting the last laugh. He joined forces with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. In their first year together, they won a league-best 72 games.
The Spurs remained competitive, winning the Midwest Division with a 59-23 record. Their pattern of postseason flops continued as they were ousted in the second round of the playoffs. Rodman and the Bulls, however, lost just once in the postseason before reaching the NBA Finals. Chicago defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 4-2 for the title.
The championship was the first of three straight for Rodman and the Bulls. Rodman finished his career with five NBA championships.