Dennis Rodman’s championships with the Detroit Pistons are the most significant

Former Detroit Pistons Isiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Former Detroit Pistons Isiah Thomas and Dennis Rodman (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Rodman is a five time NBA champion, but his two rings with the Detroit Pistons hold more significance than those with the Chicago Bulls.

In 1986 the Detroit Pistons selected Dennis Rodman in the NBA Draft. He went on to become one of the fiercest defenders and the most tenacious rebounder of all-time.

It was evident from the very beginning that the impact he was going to have in Detroit was substantial. By the end of his second season in the league, he was already averaging 11.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.

That was the most amount of points he’d go on to average in a single season in his entire career. He was never the first, second, third, or even fourth option to score the ball. Rodman’s job was to out hustle the other nine players on the floor.

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When he arrived in Detroit, he often kept to himself and he was incredibly shy. He immediately bonded with his teammates and his coaches, but no relationship meant more to Rodman than the one he had with former Pistons head coach Chuck Daly.

Multiple former members of the organization have been on record in the past saying that Daly essentially acted as a father figure for Rodman, who had a troubled upbringing.

"“He was the most popular player on the team without ever really scoring,” former Pistons president Tom Wilson said of Rodman. “I can’t imagine that’s ever happened in the history in the NBA.”"

He was the quintessential embodiment of what the Bad Boys encapsulated. He didn’t care about the glamour that came with scoring, he didn’t care about winning over the fans, he just wanted to play.

Rodman ended up becoming one of the many key pieces that went into Detroit’s back to back title runs in 1989 and 1990. The punishing defenses led by him, Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn were devastating and eventually even caused Michael Jordan to reinvent himself physically.

After seven years with the Pistons, Rodman was traded to the Spurs and by 1995, he became a member of the Chicago Bulls. He was now teammates with the guys that he spent so man years beating up on.

In fact, as soon as he joined the Bulls, he was forced to apologize to Scottie Pippen for an on-court incident that happened in 1991 when they were rivals.

For the next three years the trio or Jordan, Pippen and Rodman went on to win three championships, securing a second three-peat inside of a decade.

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Rodman was as important of an asset in Chicago as he was with the Pistons, averaging an astonishing 15.3 rebounds per game over that illustrious run. However, despite the fact that he won more with the Bulls, his rings in Detroit will always hold more significance.

Rodman wasn’t the leader of the Bad Boys, but to this day he’s one of the most memorable players from those teams. The fearlessness that went into every single possession that he played was unmatched.

To be such a substantial part of a run that dethroned multiple dynasties holds such significant weight. It’s not that his championships with the Bulls have no value, but there’s always going to be more with Detroit.

The “golden era” of basketball was temporarily put on hold by a team that wanted to physically beat down on every single opponent they played, and they did, and Rodman helped make it possible.

The Bulls likely wouldn’t have three-peated for a second time without his help, but we can assume with great certainty that Jordan and Pippen would have found a way to win at least one or two more.

With Detroit, Rodman’s role meant everything to them. Without his presence, there’s a chance that we never see them win a single championship.

The bonds that he formed with his Piston teammates created a genuine brotherhood. There was a sense of family in the locker room that still exists to this day. The cohesion with which they played was unrivaled.

At the end of the day, a Hall of Fame induction, and five NBA championships later, it’s safe to say that his validation has long been proven.

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