Before the start of the 1995-96 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls shocked the world by trading for Dennis Rodman. It was a very polarizing move since Bulls superstars Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen had beef with Rodman from his days on the Detroit Pistons.
The trade worked out for the Bulls, as Chicago went 72-10 in 1995-96 and defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in the ’96 NBA Finals. Even though Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman were a lethal Big Three, it took a while for Jordan and Pippen to bond with Rodman.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen hated Dennis Rodman when he was on the Pistons
The Pistons and Bulls had an intense rivalry in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Dennis Rodman and the Pistons got the best of Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen several times in the playoffs.
The “Bad Boys” era of the Pistons was led by Rodman, Bill Laimbeer, Rick Mahorn, and Isiah Thomas. Detroit used to beat up Jordan and Pippen every time the two stars drove toward the basket. As a result of those hard fouls, MJ and Pippen got into numerous fights with Rodman and Co.
In Game 4 of the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals, Rodman fouled Pippen very hard and almost injured him by pushing the small forward into the stands. However, Pippen didn’t respond to Rodman’s foul and continued to play his game.
The Bulls swept the Pistons in the ’91 Eastern Conference Finals and defeated the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals for Jordan and Pippen’s first championship. Meanwhile, the Pistons’ dynasty ended after that Game 4 loss to Chicago.
Dennis Rodman played two more seasons in Detroit before getting traded to the San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls acquired The Worm from the Spurs on October 2, 1995, and Scottie Pippen wasn’t a fan of the move at all.
Scottie Pippen didn’t want Dennis Rodman on the Bulls
Michael Jordan and Bulls head coach Phil Jackson were on board with adding Dennis Rodman to the group since they knew he could help the team win. However, Scottie Pippen wasn’t a fan at all.
Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, and Jackson went to Bulls GM Jerry Krause’s house to talk about Rodman’s fit in Chicago after the trade. According to Rodman, Pippen didn’t say one word to him.
Rodman didn’t care if he and Pippen couldn’t get along. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year only cared about winning and didn’t have to get along with his teammates to accomplish that goal.
According to Rodman, he and Pippen didn’t talk for the first six months of the 1995-96 season. The two finally started to get along after the Bulls began winning games at a historic pace and Pippen saw how hard Rodman played.
It’s incredible that Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman didn’t communicate for most of the 1995-96 season, and the Bulls still won 72 games and the title. It just goes to show how special that team was.
MJ, Rodzilla, and Pip won three straight titles together
Behind Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, the Bulls won three straight championships. Chicago defeated the SuperSonics and the Utah Jazz twice.
Michael Jordan is the best basketball player of all time, Scottie Pippen is the greatest “Robin” ever, and Dennis Rodman is the most dominant rebounder.
The Bulls are very fortunate that all NBA three legends played for them.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.