Pistons and NBA great Dennis Rodman is once again on the NBA Hall of Fame ballot after appearing last year in his first year of eligibility. And for the second straight year, he faces long odds to get enshrined that have little to do with basketball. From NBA.com:
It’s Year 2 of the great debate, of Rodman’s obvious statistical accomplishments as a defender and rebounder against Rodman’s obvious ability to turn off panelists with his personality. But eight consecutive seasons as first- or second-team All-Defense, as voted on by coaches, and another seven consecutive seasons of leading the league in rebounding, a record run, and he didn’t even make finalist last year. If he doesn’t at least advance to that next round this time, it could signal the Worm is forever doomed.
In case voters need a reminder of why Rodman is Hall-worthy, here are some reasons:
- Standing just 6-foot-7 and being out-weighed by nearly every power forward he faced, Dennis Rodman won seven consecutive NBA rebounding titles.
- Rodman has the five highest single-season rebounding averages in the last 20 years — his best five years looked like this: 18.7, 18.3, 17.3, 16.8, 16.1. Read those again. Look at the modern NBA. For any guy, let alone a generously-listed 6-7 slim guy playing power forward against beasts like Barkley, Malone and Kemp every night, to put up those numbers is INSANE.
- Charles Barkley’s best was 14.6. Shaquille O’Neal has never averaged more than 13.7. Dwight Howard has never done better than 14.2. Ben Wallace hasn’t been better than 15.4. Tim Duncan’s best is 12.9. Kevin Garnett’s best is 13.9. Those guys are all phenomenal rebounders, and Rodman’s numbers don’t just slightly beat them. They obliterate them.
- Look at the best NBA single-season rebounding averages. Before you get to Kevin Willis at No. 95, only five of the top seasons occurred after 1980. All five of those are Dennis Rodman seasons. The other names in that top 94 are guys like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wes Unseld, Moses Malone, Bill Walton, et. al. In short, it is Dennis Rodman and a bunch of Hall of Fame pioneers of the game.
- Rodman’s career rebounding average is 11th best in NBA history. Nine of the 10 players in front of him (the underrated ABA great Mel Daniels being the exception) are in the Hall of Fame.
- Rodman’s rebound rate — the total percentage of available rebounds he grabbed while on the court — is the best in NBA history.
It’s a tough sell to convince writers to enshrine Rodman when his own team hasn’t even done the right thing and retired his No. 10 jersey (sorry Greg Monroe … I like you, but that’s not your number). Hopefully more people on a national level realize that Rodman was one of the most unique talents of his era, and just because he wasn’t a scorer doesn’t mean he couldn’t control a game with rebounding and lockdown defense.