NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman loved to party during his playing career. He routinely went to Las Vegas throughout the regular season to gamble and drink.
According to Spotrac, Rodman made around $27 million in NBA money during his career. However, since he was a huge gambler, the five-time champion hasn’t seen all of that capital.
Dennis Rodman once lost $200,000 after winning $89,000
In Roland Lazenby’s Blood On the Horns: The Long Strange Ride of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, the late Jack Haley talked about Rodman’s love for gambling and how the rebounding machine always played it big (h/t Chicago Sports historian Jack M Silverstein).
“Dennis is not a shy gambler,” Haley said. “He plays for very big stakes. That’s one of the things we have in common. I’m a big gambler myself. We spend a lot of time in Vegas. We’re out there a large portion of the summer. We fly in and out. Dennis plays nothing but craps. I’m a baccarat player. The biggest night I’ve ever seen Dennis have, I think he won $89,000 one night. I’ve seen him drop $200,000 in a weekend. Part of the $200,000 he lost, though, was the $89,000 he had won the week before. He won 89 the trip before, and he went back, and instead of the average $500 bet, it was a $5,000 bet. The next thing you know you’re in big trouble.”
Rodman was undoubtedly a big party animal and had an eccentric personality. However, when it came time to produce on the basketball court and impact winning, there was arguably no one better at his craft.
Dennis Rodman was an elite defender and rebounder
Rodman not only won two Defensive Player of the Year Awards, but he also led the league in rebounding seven times and made eight All-Defensive teams. The two-time All-Star seemingly never ran out of energy and perfected the art of rebounding.
In 911 games with the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks, Rodman averaged 13.1 rebounds. He’s fifth in NBA history in offensive rebounds (4,329) and 12th in rebounds per game.
On March 4, 1992, Rodman grabbed 34 rebounds as a member of the Pistons, tying Rony Seikaly for the second-most rebounds in a game. Charles Oakley holds the record with 35.
Rodman helped the Pistons win two championships, and the Bulls win three. Even though Rodzilla didn’t hang out with him off the court, he made sure the one and only Michael Jordan knew how valuable he was.
Michael Jordan on Dennis the Menace: You can’t find another player that works just as hard as him
Rodman was an unrestricted free agent after the Bulls won their fifth title in 1997. When Chicago reporters asked Jordan if he wanted El Loco back for the 1997-98 season, His Airness didn’t mince words.
“Sure, I mean, he’s gonna go wacko every now and then. We’ve come to live with that. We’ve come to accept that,” Jordan said. “But you can’t find another player on the basketball court that works just as hard as Dennis Rodman. Gives 110%, dives at loose balls even if he can’t get them. That’s Dennis Rodman. So I don’t have a problem with Dennis, and I don’t think Phil [Jackson] does. I don’t think Scottie [Pippen] does. We’ve been able to control him to some degree.”
If Jordan was a fan of your game, you were doing something right. Rodman and MJ had a unique relationship since they were rivals when the former was on the Pistons. The two had to put their checkered past behind them to work together in Chicago, and they accomplished their goal with flying colors by winning three consecutive championships.