Dennis Rodman played for five different teams throughout his Hall of Fame career, but the Detroit Pistons will always be home.
Between the Lakers-Celtics rivalry of the 1980s and the Chicago Bulls Dynasty of the 1990s, the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” ruled the NBA for two seasons. Among the core of Chuck Daly’s Pistons was Dennis Rodman.
Before becoming one of the most unique and complicated stars in NBA history, he was just a 1986 second-round draft pick by the Detroit Pistons. Over the next six seasons, during the “Bad Boys” era, Rodman cemented himself as one of the best defensive players as well as one of the most historic rebounders in NBA history.
After the 1993 season, Rodman departed for San Antonio for the next chapter in his story but did not last long with the Spurs due to off-court antics. In 1995 the Chicago Bulls, the team that Rodman once terrorized from 1988 to 1990, acquired Rodman from the Spurs to pair with Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan, who just returned from a two-year baseball hiatus.
During his time in Chicago, Rodman would help the Bulls win three straight championships from 1995 to 1998 while leading the NBA in rebounding all three years.
Despite his success with Jordan’s Bulls, Dennis Rodman will always be a Piston first.
When Rodman entered the NBA in 1986, he was just a rookie who did not make any major contributions. The following season, Rodman would see his role expand on the Pistons as the ran into Jordan and the Bulls for the first time. With Scottie Pippen just a rookie, the Pistons flew by the Bulls in five games.
Over the next three seasons, Rodman along with Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, and the rest of the “Bad Boys” would terrorize the Bulls along with the rest of the NBA en route to the Pistons first finals appearance and back-to-back finals.
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In 1991, after having enough of a beating from the Pistons, Jordan, Pippen, and the Bulls put on more muscle in order to administer the pain to the Pistons. The Bulls would sweep the Pistons and advance to the finals and begin the Bulls dynasty.
Sunday night’s first episode of ESPN’s documentary “The Last Dance” was focused on Rodman’s life, career, and role in the second half of the Jordan Bulls dynasty.
When the question was brought up about whether the Bulls should acquire Rodman, Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was skeptical about him due to the antics that surrounded him. But once Rodman was acquired from the Spurs, he fit in quickly with the Bulls, even with their history with “The Jordan Rules”.
After being fed up with trade rumors and dealing with Krause, Pippen decided to demand a trade which subsequently sent the Bulls into a slump to begin the season. Rodman was the glue that kept the Bulls together during that time. Once he got going, the Bulls were back to the top of the NBA and did not seem to be missing Pippen much.
However, once Pippen decides to return, Rodman says that “we were the three amigos, and I was the third wheel” and felt left out and not as noticed as he was when it was just him and Jordan. This would end up leading to Rodman’s “48 hour” vacation away from the team in which he went to Vegas and partied for more than the 48 hours he was given.
At the end of the day, Dennis Rodman was such an important component to the Bulls and their championships, that the second incarnation of the Bulls dynasty may have looked different.
Regardless of the impact that Rodman had with the Bulls and how important he was to that team, he will always belong to the Pistons before the Bulls. He was the defensive core of the “Bad Boys” Pistons and helped that team jolt to the next level and achieve greatness and cement themselves in NBA history.