Dennis Rodman ran on adrenaline when he was on the basketball court. He was gritty, determined, and he usually got what he wanted. Whether he was playing for the Bad Boys of the Detroit Pistons or Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, Rodman played with zero fear. The undersized forward was a rebounding machine. He was never a gifted scorer but realized with hard work every rebound could be his. He played with passion, hunger, and said he wanted to have a feeling of being in pain when he was battling for those loose balls.
The evolution of Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman was far from a big-time college player. He didn’t play for a college known for sending players into the NBA. In fact, when Rodman was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 1986 NBA draft, it was the first time any player from Southeastern Oklahoma State University had ever made it to the NBA. He was a skinny, 6-foot-7 player not known for his offense drafted in the second round. The odds of him making a career in the NBA were stacked against him.
There aren’t too many guys in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame who averaged 7.3 points per game for their career. Rodman found a way to make his mark in the NBA and rebounding and defense were the keys.
During a seven-year stretch, Rodman led the NBA in rebounding average per game. It began in the 1991-92 season when he averaged 18.7 rebounds per game and ended in the 1997-98 season when he pulled down 15 per contest. Rodman was twice named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year and made the NBA’s All-Defensive Team eight times. He was a five-time NBA champ and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
Rodman posted some of the strangest stat lines ever
Knowing he wasn’t overly skilled offensively, Dennis Rodman focused on his rebounding game. That translated into some strange stat lines for the man known as The Worm. Seven times in his NBA career, Rodman pulled down more than 20 rebounds without scoring a single point.
In 1993 while playing for the San Antonio Spurs, Rodman collected 28 rebounds without scoring a single point against the Charlotte Hornets. Rodman played 45 minutes in the game and the Spurs pulled out a 92-88 victory.
On Jan. 25, 1994, also when he was playing for the Spurs, Rodman hauled down 20 rebounds with zero points. Not only did Rodman fail to score, he never even attempted a shot. He also had 25 points and zero points against the Phoenix Suns in 1993.
Rodman wanted to feel pain on the court
Dennis Rodman’s game was hard work. He’d also work hard to try and get in the opponent’s head. He’d scrap for loose balls, dive all over the place, and take shots to the body all game – all for a rebound.
During the latest episodes of ESPN’s “The Last Dance,” Rodman made it known he’s do anything to get to the ball. He said pain was nothing to him. In fact, he embraced the feeling of pain. “I wanna go out there and get my nose broke, I wanna go out there and get cut… Something that’s really going to bring out the hurt, the pain, I want to feel that,” Rodman said.
Rodman wanted the pain. He was fearless. That combination, along with his determination to be the best in the rebounding department, made the skinny, undersized kid from Southeastern Oklahoma State University an NBA Hall-of-Famer.