There was a ton of debate about whether Dennis Rodman would get into the Hall of Fame. That debate seemingly had little merit, as he made it in fairly quickly and wasn't left waiting around. On Saturday, he finally made it in, and delivered an emotional induction speech.
I think getting into the Hall of Fame meant more for Dennis than most people. He still is an incredibly passionate and emotional person, and when you go back and listen to his defensive player of the year speech you can see how much the recognition meant to him.
His HOF speech was just as emotional, but for a different reason. He took the moment to fall on his sword for all of the negativity in his life. For being a bad father, a bad husband, and a bad son. Some of that is likely true, but Dennis is also likely being a bit hard on himself as well.
Like many NBA players, he grew up in poverty from a broken home. He didn't have a great example of parental stability set for him, so it's not shocking that he wasn't able to set one for his own family. Whatever estrangement he has from his parents is likely more on his parents than on him.
For however badly he treated his wife, she had to know exactly what she was getting into when she got married, and while that doesn't make him the type of guy I hope my daughters grow up to marry, I doubt someone married Rodman with any illusions to his strengths and weaknesses.
For whatever lack of role he's played in his children's life, he's presumably at least been able to support them financially which may not sound like much if you're a typical middle class person reading this, but coming from the poverty, is more than men he grew up around were likely able to do.
Dennis's speech left us to consider what kind of person he was. While his actions certainly wouldn't elevate him to role model status or someone I'd hope my daughters would grow up to date, he obviously cares about his mistakes, and I only hope that he can find the power to recover from the demons in his life to better align his actions with his heart.
In his speech, Dennis made it clear that his time with the Bulls meant more to him than his time with the Pistons. He called Michael and Scottie the two best players in the history of the game. He spoke at length about Phil Jackson as a mentor. He barely mentioned the Pistons at all except to apologize for overlooking them.
Maybe he was simply shooting from the him and doesn't feel that way, but it wasn't something I would have expected of Rodman. I would have thought he'd viewed Detroit as his golden years, but it doesn't seem like that was the case.
On the court, I don't need to describe Dennis. Every high energy, defensive oriented, rebounding big man for the rest of time will be viewed as potentially the next Dennis Rodman. Much like Michael Jordan, he created a mold that GMs will constantly try to fill.
His persona built his legacy and his downfall. He was rebellious, difficult to coach, and full of addictions. He outworked pretty much everyone, but only on his own terms. He brought more drama to a team than most teams wanted to deal with.
With a Tim Duncan demeanor off the court, he'd likely be working in the NBA today as a coach if he wanted. Instead, the image and attitude that made him the bad boy star has left him on the outside of NBA circles in his retirement.
Hopefully, we get at least one more chance to see Dennis and remember his great career. Hopefully, the Bulls decide to honor him in some way at the United Center soon.