Dennis Rodman was at Scottie's HOF induction and spent some of that time campaigning for his own induction. I blogged about this possibility before and came up kind of neutral on the topic, and I'm reopening the subject for debate.
He has some impressive credentials:
Key member of 5 NBA title teams
Defensive player of the year twice
Seven time 1st team defense (1 2nd team, 2 3rd)
A host of rebounding statistical crowns (7 time leader in rebounds per game, 8 times in TRB%, #1 all time in career rebounding percentage).
However, after that the case gets more sticky.
He was only a two time all-star.
He didn't provide much on the offensive end of the court, he gives you offensive rebounding and junk baskets, but that isn't really a whole lot.
He could never be the #1 guy on a title team. Heck, he couldn't even be the #2 guy on a title team. In fact, he spent a portion of his career submarining a team that could have won a title if he had his crap together.
Was there ever a year you'd put Dennis Rodman in the top 10 players in the league?
I'm not sure how many other HOFers have those negatives on their resume, I'd guess a few of the early ones who got in probably had similar qualifications because they were just trying to fill the room, but since then, the bar has been raised considerably.
The problem is really the way the hall is constructed. By the present rule, there is no room for specialists. No room for the purely interesting. The history of basketball seems incomplete without Dennis. He's not an after thought, he was a key player in the league.
I acknowledge that as an all around player, Dennis doesn't measure up to the Hall of Fame standard, but when you just think of Dennis, don't you think he belongs? What's interesting is that Dennis's value is so different depending on the way you calculate.
Is Dennis Rodman a top 100 player of all time? Most people probably laugh at this, but I think it depends on how you view the top 100. Say you had 100 teams, and had to pick a best player for each. Dennis wouldn't make anyone's list. However, say you had 10 teams and had to pick 10 players for each team, Dennis probably makes most peoples list for one of the teams.
The first list represents an all around contribution, while the second list represents how he could contribute to the team he was on. While Rodman wasn't one of the all time greats in all around play, he could certainly play in a pick up game with them in his prime and help his team more with his specialized skills than someone who had more all around skills.
Most people would use the first approach to figure out a top 100, but is the second approach really less valid?
I don't know if Dennis ever gets into the Hall. His basketball-reference.com HOF Probability is .467 showing that even the statisticians can't make up their mind on whether he's worthy. I'm not sure if I think he's worthy. It's hard for me to say "yes" to a guy whom I don't think was ever a top 10 all-around player in the league for even a single season.
That said, there's so many unique impressive things he's done. I can still go either way.