The Worm is Finally Coming Home
The Detroit Pistons are retiring Dennis Rodman‘s #10 jersey tonight at the Bulls vs. Pistons game. Now I’ll be honest, my memory of the Jordan years is fuzzy so you can bet that I remember even less about any other team during that era. But in my vague recollection, I do recall the notorious Bad Boy Pistons because everyone hated them because of what was deemed ‘dirty’ play. They were the team to constantly stand in front of the Bulls during multiple playoff seasons and the same team to leave the court without shaking the Bulls’ hands after the Bulls FINALLY beat them en route to their first Championship.
Anyway, through all that, the player I most remember is Dennis Rodman. The fearless rebounder and defensive-minded player whose off-court antics have unfortunately overshadowed an amazing career.
But within the last few days, a good number of articles have come out discussing Rodman’s career and it’s been heart-warming to see that they’ve been mostly positive and similar in nature such as this one:
“Dennis was very instrumental to our success,” [Joe] Dumars said. “I don’t think we could have done it without him. He was definitely the heart of those teams, and that’s why it’s so good to see him being honored now.”
“He took rebounding to a totally different level,” [Isaiah] Thomas said. “If you remember, the NBA wasn’t paying for rebounders. He marketed rebounding and defense and was the first guy to get paid for it and get other people paid for it. He made defense and rebounding sexy.”
And this one via Patrick Hayes at Piston Powered:
The comments by Rodman’s agent last week basically confirmed my hunch, that since leaving Detroit, Rodman hasn’t had a “home” in the sense that nearly all NBA legends are associated with the city of their greatest successes. Retiring his No. 10 in April will hopefully rectify this and put his career in proper perspective.
The so-called stat-lovers will point to Rodman’s unreal rebounding percentage (first in NBA history) even though he was never the biggest or strongest player on the court. The so-called purists who have no use for calculators will point to the fact that Rodman could guard all five positions on the court and successfully frustrated everyone from Michael Jordan to Shaquille O’Neal with his defensive intelligence.
Matt McHale at Bulls by the Horns also brings up an interesting question on whether or not the Chicago Bulls would ever retire Rodman’s jersey:
In most cities, what Rodman accomplished would probably have earned a jersey retirement. But, as of this writing, the Bulls have retired exactly four jerseys: Jerry Sloan’s #4, Bob Love’s #10, Michael Jordan’s #23 and Scottie Pippen’s #33.
That leaves out several key contributors from six championship teams, including (but not limited to) Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, John Paxson, B.J. Armstrong, Toni Kukoc, Ron Harper, Steve Kerr and, of course, Jud Buechler. It also leaves out another legendary Bulls player from an earlier era: Norm Van Lier. If Stormin’ Norman’s jersey hasn’t been retired, how could the organization justify retiring Rodman’s?
Good point. But I digress. Amidst all these articles about Rodman’s many achievements [and questionable behavior], I liked this piece of social media the best:
This really says it all, doesn’t it? While he did help lead the Chicago Bulls to three titles and was an integral part of those teams, there is no denying that he is first and foremost a Detroit Piston.
Welcome home, Dennis.