Dennis Rodman used to physically try to hurt Michael Jordan when he played for the Detroit Pistons. The two stars got into several back-and-forths during the Pistons-Chicago Bulls rivalry, which is why many people questioned the Bulls’ decision to trade for Rodman in 1995.
However, Rodman respected Jordan so much on the Bulls that the Worm was subservient to MJ.
Dennis Rodman viewed himself below Michael Jordan
Former Bulls guard Steve Kerr told Roland Lazenby, who wrote Jordan’s biography titled The Life, that Rodman’s respect for and treatment of His Airness was fascinating to witness from 1995-96 to 1997-98.
“Dennis was like subservient to Michael in an emotional way, not a physical way,” Kerr said, via Chicago sports historian Jack M Silverstein. “He never did anything for Michael that he didn’t do for the rest of us, but there was just this understanding that Michael is the greatest and I’m below him, and so I’m not going to mess with him, and vice versa. It was really interesting.”
Jordan and Rodman never got into fights during their time together on the Bulls. For the most part, Rodzilla behaved in Chicago, but when he did act out, he made sure to let Black Jesus know that he messed up since he had so much admiration for the superstar shooting guard.
Dennis Rodman had unique way of letting Michael Jordan know he messed up
The Bulls began the 1997-98 season without Scottie Pippen, who was recovering from surgery. That meant Jordan had to count on Rodman to be his partner in crime, and Demolition Man initially wasn’t ready for it.
During one of the early games in 1997-98, Rodman got kicked out, and Jordan was livid. The five-time MVP wanted his big man to be more accountable, but he wasn’t getting that from Rodman to begin the season. However, things changed after the two-time Defensive Player of the Year went to Jordan’s hotel room to ask for a cigar.
“I went to Michael Jordan’s room, asked for a cigar,” Rodman said in Episode 3 of The Last Dance docuseries. “But I think that he knew the fact that that’s probably his way of me showing him that, you know, ‘Man, my bad.’ “
Jordan also said during the scene, “He didn’t say an apology, he didn’t say anything, but by him coming to my room, it was his way of saying, ‘Look, I fu—- up.’ And from that point on, Dennis was straight as an arrow, and we started to win.”
Behind Jordan and Rodman, the Bulls went 24-11 without Pippen, who made his 1997-98 season debut on Jan. 10 against the Golden State Warriors. Once the Big Three was back together, Chicago became nearly unbeatable.
Bulls won 62 games in 1997-98, beat Jazz in Finals
Jordan, Rodman, and Pippen guided the Bulls to 62 wins in 1997-98. The All-Stars capped off their final season together with a championship by defeating the Utah Jazz in the ’98 Finals.
After the Bulls’ sixth title, Jordan retired, Pippen was traded to the Houston Rockets, and Rodman was released. The seven-time rebounding champion signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in February 1999.
Jordan and Pippen’s relationship with Rodman didn’t start off well since Dennis the Menace played for the rival Pistons. However, the Bulls legends grew to love the Southeastern Oklahoma State University product and needed his services for the second three-peat in 1996, 1997, and 1998.