Does Dennis Rodman deserve to be in the Hall of Fame?

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There was some recent article about Mark Jackson and Dennis Rodman and whether they were hall of fame worthy guys on NBA.com.   I'm too lazy to go look it up, but it does beg the question would you put either of these guys in the hall?

This kind of gets down to the essence of what the Hall of Fame is about.   First, let it be clear, the basketball Hall of Fame is just about the worst of any major hall.   Only 1/3rd or so of the people in it are there because they played pro basketball.   I understand contributors and coaches deserve spots in the hall, but they shouldn't outnumber the players two to one in my opinion.

So when I look at it that way, I'm tempted to throw all kinds of guys into the Hall.   Let's just get some players in there for Pete's sake.   Also, when you look at the older generation of players who are in the hall, modern players stack up pretty well.   Part of this was because they had low standards initially just so the building wasn't empty.  

If you were a Boston Celtic in the dynasty run you were in the Hall almost automatically.  Could you imagine the 5th or 6th best player on a title team making the Hall of Fame today?

Still, you don't want to throw in more guys because other guys were undeserving.   You have to decide, is it the hall of fame or is it the hall of very good?   Neither Dennis Rodman or Mark Jackson were good enough players to be the best or second best player on a title team.    Depending on your view of the sport, that could be enough to eliminate them right there.

However, that's only one way to look at the Hall.   Would any reliever in baseball be good enough to be the most important guy on a title team?    Would any safety, tight end, or kicker be good enough in football?   Could you really anchor your team with a dominant center in the NFL?

You can also put guys in because they're the best at what they do, even if they aren't necessarily the best players in the game.   In the NFL, the top 15 most valuable players are probably all QBs, but we're not shutting the hall down of other players.   You might say the same thing in baseball with regards to starting pitching.

From that type of argument how do you deny possibly the league's greatest rebounder in the history of the sport? (and if you bring up the fact that his rebounding average pales in comparison to that of older generation players then I will smack you across the face for not understanding basketball statistics, warning sent)   Rodman was also a top notch defender and big contributor on five title teams.   He was more or less worthless on offense, but then again, Bill Russell wasn't doing a whole lot on offense either.   

Granted Russell was considered the greatest player of his era despite his lack of offense whereas no one would consider Rodman a top 20 player in his era most likely.

I can go either way on this one.   There's a part of me that thinks he simply wasn't good enough overall.  Many believe he also gave up on many parts of the game in order to chase rebounds and celebrity.    If you could take a historical draft of all players in league history for a team and have them play in their prime, how many guys are ahead of Rodman?   It's got to be a ton.

At the same time, five rings, tons of defensive awards, all the rebounding titles, some of the stuff he's done is still pretty special.   It really comes down to this (IMO anyway): 

Do you let a specialist into the basketball hall of fame?

If the answer is yes, then Dennis is in.  If the answer is no, then he's out.    We let specialists into the Halls of other sports even if they aren't really guys you'd build a team around, but basketball is fundamentally different in the way the team controls who the go to guys are rather than the situations.  

I don't know, so you convince me.

(Btw, I just say no on Mark Jackson, if you let Jackson in, then you're using the "he was good for a really, really, really long time even if he was never great" rule.   I don't like that one.  I'd rather take guys who were really great but one dimensional over guys who were just good.

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  • Great piece!

    I'd say no to Rodman. He may be the best pure rebounder ever, and yes, there are all those titles (but does Robert Horry or Steve Kerr belong just because they accumulated all those titles?), but the key is your point about him being the third or fourth best player on those teams and not even a top 20, or 25 for that matter, player of his era. It won't be an outrage if he gets in somehow, but as much as I appreciate what he brought to the table, I would vote no.

    Mark Jackson, on the other hand, is a complete joke. At least Rodman was the best in the league at something and has all the gold rings to flash (assuming he hasn't pawned them off to pay gambling debts or bar tabs). Jackson was a good player but never a great one. I'm not sure he would even be considered top five at his position in his era, yet alone a top 20 player of that time.

  • In reply to muhammond:

    IF Jackson were a Celtic, he would be a lock.

  • Dennis Rodman should definitely be in the Hall of Fame. This guy dominated the boards for every one he played with. And if you go by the fact that he wasn't the best player on his team well then you have to take this into account. Even if Dennis had added offense to his game he played with Joe Dumars & Isiah Thomas in Detroit, David Robinson in San Antonio, Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen in Chicago, Shaquille O'Neal & Kobe Bryant in LA, and Dirk Nowitzki & Steve Nash in Dallas. How do you become the Best Player on any of those teams? None of those teams needed double digit scoring from Dennis. And the reason he got a job in Chicago is because of his Defense and Rebounding alone. The same goes for LA & Dallas even if those situations didn't work out. That was his job and he was the best at it during his era. That makes him Hall of Fame worthy.

  • I say yes.

    He's got the NBA championships, the Defensive Player of the Year awards and Rebounding titles to back it up. He's a Hall of Famer, no doubt about it.

  • Rodman is an absolute no brainer.

    Rodman, is one of the singularly unique players in NBA history, and I am only refering to his play on the court. Horry is far more comparable to Kerr than Rodman, a role player just lucky to be in the right place at the right time.

    the Bulls would not have won 72 games or the repeat 3peat without him. He is the reason that the second 3peat Bulls were better than the first. He was vastly superior to Grant, especially in terms of what a team with Jordan and Pippen needed, toughness, rebounding and defense. If Grant had still been with the Bulls, we would not have won 72 games or 3 peated.

    For you stat geeks, I have seen analysis, that normalized the game between eras and Rodman rebounding #'s translate to anything that Wilt and Russell did in their primes. A reasonable argument can be made that Rodman is the greatest rebounder in NBA history.

    As a defender, he rivals, if not exceeds Scottie Pippen, especially when you consider his toughness and the fact that he was the guy that got in other players heads and disrupted thier games and Pippen was the other guy.

    Rodman was Moses Malone without the offense, and all world defense.

    Rodman is world class Dbag/Ahole as a personality, but he absoultely deserves to be in the NBA hall of fame as a player, especially when you look at all the mediocre players already in.

  • Just to be clear, I definitely think Rodman is way more qualified than Horry or Kerr. I probably wouldn't vote for Rodman, but I do think he deserves strong consideration based on his meaningful contributions to title teams and individual accolades. If he gets in, I wouldn't complain. Big shot Rob did his part, but again, he didn't do a whole lot to get those teams to that moment. Kerr, obviously, isn't worth talking about as a candidate.

    I don't want anyone to think I'm anti-Rodman--I'm a big fan of what he did in the NBA, and it would make me smile to see him inducted, but really, was he actually a better basketball player than even Horace Grant, who nobody considers a HOF guy?

    Love the hall of interesting. Rodman should get his own wing.

  • Mark Jackson? what the hell did he ever do in this league besides get to #2 on the all-time assists leader board? Hey if I played with Ewing and Reggie Miller I could have done what Mark did. Let me ask you a question though, did Ewing and Reggie ever win a ring with Mark at the helm? Nope. Dennis Rodman is a no doubt HOFer. Dennis won 5 titles and contributed big time to all 5 its not like he was a guy who was on the bench on numerous teams and got lucky. Rodman sacrificed his offense for the good of all his teams to play defense and rebound. Everyone though he couldnt score however he could he just knew he had guys who could and he focused on other ways to help.

  • I also have to add I dont think Dennis will make it to the Hall because people looked down on how he acted and because he was a little different which is so wrong. I guess Iverson shouldnt get in because he was similar with his different hair styles and tattos (sarcastic) and Kobe shouldnt either since of the rape case of 2004 (sarcastic).

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