Tonight's April 1 glorious Chicago Sports day ended with the Bulls postgame show, highlighting a win v. the Detroit Pistons. Mark Schanowski and Kendall Gil asked us fans to text, from our cell phones, our best memory of Dennis Rodman, from the 4 choices below. Rodman was honored tonight for his career with the Pistons, during a halftime ceremony at the Palace of Auburn Hills, where his #10 Jersey was retired.
"What will you remember most about Dennis Rodman's Career?"
3. Unique Looks
4. Off the Court Antics
My memory chip immediately flashed to the game on December 17, 1996 v. the Lakers in The United Center.
I know all of you remember this moment in Bulls history. It's truly classic.
There was this rookie named Kobe, playing his first time in Chicago, against our own Michael. It was Scottie's long arms stretching for lay-ups down the lane, and Robert Parrish still playing at 43 yrs. There was this big guy Shaquille, with Eddie Jones driving the lane, Nick Van Exel shooting lights out, and another unknown, Robert Horry.
And by the 3rd quarter, the Bulls were down by 22, being out-hustled, out-run, out-shot, and simply being taken out of their element (Walter, shut up!). L.A. led by 13 pts. with 4 minutes in regulation. And I was having a fit, screaming and laying it out, as only my family knows.
But then our classic 72-10 team played the most exciting regular-season comeback in Bulls history. It showed the world why the 1996-97 team was the Best, Ever, Anywhere. It was Kukoc as the 6th man, hitting 6 three point shots, and tying the game in regulation with his clutch free throws, with just 4 seconds left. A fabulous comeback it was. Then in OT, we were treated to Randy Brown dunking over Elden Campbell. The game had Scottie, Michael, and Toni each, with 30 plus points.
And then there was Dennis.
The scene: 25 seconds left in OT, 125-123, Bulls leading. Eddie Jones shoots a 3. In and out. Rodman jumps higher than Shaq, fighting for the ball. He somehow miraculously grabs it, lands on both feet, & cradles this precious orange object in his chest, as a parent holding a baby.
He immediately puts his hands together, calling a time out. At the same time, Jerome Kersey grabbed for the ball and Rodman, trying to foul Dennis. Kersey pounds the ball out of Dennis' hands onto the court. Shaq comes into the fray & pushes Rodman. Then Dennis turns around, and goes after both him and Kersey.
You know what happens next. It is on classic, vintage TNT footage, with Doc Rivers and Verne Lundquist calling the scene. They're loving it. We fans are loving it. The crowd is going wild, jumping up and down, cheering & screaming.
It was an authentic Chicago take-down. It was a take-down like the kind I saw in the park across from CVS on 87th and Jeffrey, or in front of Bowen High School between 4th and 5th lunch periods.
Michael and Scottie grabbed Dennis before he could touch anyone with a blue and yellow jersey on. They brought him down ON the court in front of the scorer's table. And they kept him down till the refs sorted out who was on first, what just happened, and how the hell to make sense of these 3 guys laughing and doing what they were doing, right there on the floor.
And Doc told the world "You just say whatever you want about Dennis Rodman and what he does off the court or whatever ...that guy knows the game of basketball.... and I'll tell you... that is a great, that is a GREAT time out. He understands...'hey, I'm not a good free throw shooter....I gotta rebound, and they're gonna foul me... I'm gonna call a time out'.....That is a heads up, great call...in a tight game.... where a lot of time you don't have time to think. And he (Rodman) did. That's a smart play.'
And the frosting on the cake? A few plays later, Kobe is fouled & misses both of his free throws in the last 10 seconds. Rodman gets the rebound, is fouled by Campbell, and makes both his free throws, in their faces. He's clapping before and after each toss.
So Mark and Kendall: that's my best Dennis Rodman memory - nothing like it, ever, anywhere. Go ask Doc what he remembers, as if he's got nothin' else on HIS mind right now.
And as my father, Zozzy, would say: " How do you like them apples?"