Dennis Rodman's strange hall of fame speech

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.


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  • Dennis Rodman

    I remember when the Bulls acquired him. Strangely enough, I predicted it to my friends before the acquisition.

    I never saw, but heard stories of some of Rodman's habits before game time. He had a tipping drill where he would lie on his back, fully extended, and tip the ball in the air repeatedly. There's a reason Rodman could tip the ball 2 times under the hoop and then grab it for a rebound.

    I've also heard that he would watch the opponents as they took shots during warmups, to learn their favorite shots and consequently, the best angle for positioning for the rebound.

    I also remember him guarding Shaq 1 on 1 in some series where he gave nothing away defensively, except maybe 100 pounds and 7 inches. Tough guy.

    I'm glad he's a Hall of Famer.

  • Steve Kerr being interviewed in the pre-induciton "Red Carpet" HOF show said this when asked(by a rather hollow NBA TV schill who seems to think rather highly of himself) about what kind of guy was/is Dennis Rodman. "Dennis off the court in the lockeroom was mostly a laid back guy. Often five or six of us would go with him to something like a rock concert. He had quite an entertaining circle of friends around him. But Dennis was a very nice man. A very kind man."

    Well he couldn't have always been so nice. Not the guy who used his awesomely powerful frame and freakishly dexterous legs to hypnotically wipe the floor with Michael Jordan wihout often even appearing to foul him. He threw Scottie Pippen into the stanchion just for laughs. But other then kicking that ambulance chasing camerman in the balls, with the Bulls I rarely if ever saw Dennis illegally defend/mug people the way I saw him do with Detroit especially when the stakes were at the highest against M.J. and company. Sure in the Finals he was still capable of tripping a Karl Malone or powerfully jostling a counterfoil like Seattle's Jeff/Jack(?) Brickowski. But what he did do that goes unnoticed by stereotyping goat/hero Media blabbermouth simpletonians is make a lot of critical baskets in every Finals series he participated in with the Bulls. I can't believe a self-admitted fromer baller(if you can call a bald white guy that) and competitor like Sam Smith can't see how crucial Dennis Rodman was to NBA championships. He was a great player. And that along with an aging M.J. and Pip is why the Bulls never lost an NBA Finals on his watch.

    My own simpleton, pollyannish, homer view is that Michael, Scottie, Toni, Pax, Teach(B.C.), Steve Kerr, Horace, Luc, Randy, Jud, Phil and even somewhat Dennis were the good guys. Nice guys finsihed first in this case. Though the grind and time would change Michael and Scottie for the worse to be sure. Phil likewise. But that's my view they were once Goodfellas, and I'm sticking to it.

  • In reply to RoadWarrior:

    Sorry, I guess literally Sam's not a "white guy," but those sweatervests at least qualify him on a technicality.

  • As virtually the only one who immediately predicted 70 wins and a repeat 3 peat(understanding Pippens contract situation) the very night that the Bulls traded for Rodman, and as someone who was not a fan of his "personality" despite knowing that he was the perfect fit for that Bulls team, I had no doubt that he was a first ballot hall of famer after his stint with the Bulls.

    Hearing that most of his Bulls teammates seem to genuinely like him as well as all the stories of his hidden kindness to those less fortunate than him certainly softens my stance on his personality/behavior issues.

    My final hope for Rodman is that he doesn't end up as another one of those players that go broke and commit suicide. I hope that he finds his own version of inner peace and happiness.

    In the final analysis, I cannot help but like a guy who plays his ass off, especially for my team.

    What if Boozer played as hard as Rodman did?, we might be NBA champs right now, and we wouldn't have to trade him to Houston for Scola and Lee, or to Detroit for Hamilton and Daye, or to the EuroLeague for Douche and Bag.

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