Dennis Rodman took a mini-vacation during the 1997-98 season and went to Las Vegas with Carmen Electra. Michael Jordan and Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson were in a room with the Worm at the Berto Center when the rebounding machine told them he needed a vacation to let loose.
Rodman was supposed to be in Las Vegas for only 48 hours, but he stayed longer. Jordan had to grab his teammate from his hotel room and drag him back to practice in Chicago. In ESPN’s The Last Dance docuseries, Electra said she hid under the bed covers because she didn’t want Jordan to see her.
When Rodman returned to practice, Jackson had the Bulls run the Indian drill as his way of getting his big man in shape. However, as Jordan explained in The Last Dance, Rodzilla didn’t even need the drill.
Michael Jordan on Dennis Rodman: He was always on point
Jordan was upset he had to participate in the Indian drill since he was already in elite shape. So, the five-time MVP told his teammates to jog.
However, everyone had to start sprinting once Rodman got to the front of the line since he controlled the pace, and Jordan was in awe of the two-time Defensive Player of the Year being in tip-top shape in his first practice after his Las Vegas adventure.
“After his vacation, Dennis comes back to practice. Phil’s whole motive is to get Dennis back in shape. So, we start this drill called the Indian drill,” Jordan said in The Last Dance. “Everybody starts running in a line, and Phil blows the whistle. Whoever’s at the back, run to the front. Now, you can’t stop. Whoever’s in the front controls the pace. So, I’m saying, ‘F***, this is kind of messed up because now I’m getting caught up in Dennis getting in shape drill when in essence, I hadn’t taken a vacation.’ So, I tell everybody in the group, ‘Look, whoever gets in the front of that row, slow down to a f****** walk. We just gonna jog and jog and jog and jog.’ So, Steve Kerr and Jud Buechler, they all get to the line, we just slowly running and then Dennis takes off. Boom! Now, he (Jackson) blows the whistle. Now, we cannot stop until we get back in front of Dennis. It took us four laps to catch up to Dennis. It was like in his psyche. He needed to get away, but in all honesty, Dennis was always there. He was always on point.”
Rodman never ran out of energy. He certainly loved to party, but he cared a lot about winning and helped Jordan win three consecutive rings in 1996, 1997, and 1998.
Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman won 165 games together
Jordan and Rodman played in 199 regular-season games together. They went 165-34, good for a winning percentage of .829.
The Bulls won three straight rings while Jordan and Rodman were teammates. MJ averaged 29.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.9 assists while playing with Dennis the Menace. He also won two MVPs and three scoring titles.
Rodman put up 5.2 points and 15.3 rebounds per game alongside Jordan. He won three consecutive rebounding titles and played stellar defense for the Bulls, who defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1996 Finals and the Utah Jazz in the 1997 and 1998 Finals.
Jordan knew how valuable Rodman was to the Bulls, which is why he told reporters after the fifth championship in 1997 he wanted El Loco back for the 1997-98 season.
MJ on Demolition Man: He gives 110%
When a reporter asked Jordan if he wanted Rodman to re-sign with the Bulls in the summer of 1997, Black Jesus 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 does. I don’t think Scottie does. We’ve been able to control him to some degree, and we’re here for champions back-to-back.”
Jordan and Rodman are both in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and will likely be linked forever. It’s still amazing that they won three rings together after being rivals during the Bad Boy days.