/Interview with Dennis Rodman

Interview with Dennis Rodman

BTM: “Did you have an idol or a basketball player that you a admire in your high school days or your college days?”

DENNIS RODMAN: “Well, it’s amazing a lot of people don’t ask me that question that´s probably the first time anyone ever asked me that question. Um, when I was growing up, I was only five foot eight you know, I didn’t play basketball in high school. Um, I basically think it was like forced upon me to play basketball because I started to grow when I twenty years old – I was 21. Um, I was like six foot seven six foot eight And all of a sudden I started to go to the rec center and they said ‘Oh wow!´, you know. And Football was my first passion. First, I lived in Dallas. You know the cowboys. You know the Dallas Cowboys are my team, right? But I was rooting for the Roger Staubach’s, you know. All those guys back in the day, but all of a sudden, I picked up the game of basketball and all of a sudden people said ‘Dennis you’re pretty good!’ Im like ‘AM I? AM I?’ Being A ghetto kid that’s trying to do something for five six hours a day you know just doing recreational stuff. But um I just picked up the game man and it’s amazing the fact that it’s a hell of a story man. It’s a hell of a story how I became who I am today. It’s a hell of a story.”

BTM: “Indeed man, so you were drafted in 1986 by the Detroit Pistons actually one of the most underrated teams in NBA history the bad boys. How tough was the transition for you from college to the NBA?” 

DENNIS RODMAN: “It was funny man. I won a couple of MVP tournaments before the draft and they projected me to go number eleven to the Milwaukee Bucks but THANK GOD, THANK GOD for some reason, thank god I got pneumonia and I got sick and all of a sudden and they dropped me to Detroit. Thank god. So that´s how that happened. And John Salley was the number 11 pick for Detroit and they picked me number 26 or 27 the third pick of the second round. And man, that was a blessing in disguise man. You know just to be drafted by the Detroit Pistons that gave me the identity to be a man, to grow up as a human being and I can’t thank those guys enough to groom me to go and pursue my career. Man, that’s an awesome thing.”

BTM: “So you just mentioned that was a blessing in disguise. What was it like being apart of the bad boys and actually beating the entire league. How much fun was that?” 

DENNIS RODMAN: “Well, you know if you look at the 86/87 season, I was like a guy at Pumpkin pass. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I was pretty much just having a good time. Man, just having a good time. I was just so happy to be in the league. I was so energetic, so hyper, so elusive and alive. I just wanted to go to go out there and play, man – to show the people that I love the game of basketball. If you see some of my interviews back in the day, I would tell people I will pay for a dollar just to be in the NBA. I didn’t care I just wanted to play, man. I just want play, just go out and have a good time. And fortunately for me, with the bad boys man, the image became so much bigger than us. The Oakland Raiders came to Detroit (you guys are the Oakland raiders of the NBA). So, all of a sudden, the bad boys started to stick with us. In 1988 and it stuck with us until 1991. I loved it, man. I loved doing my thing. I loved kicking ass and just running basketball games, brother.”

BTM: “Yeah obviously you guys had a lot of rivalries: the Chicago Bulls rivalry, the Boston Celtics rivalry. So, what about the Boston Celtics rivalry: Did you guys really hate the Celtics?” 

DENNIS RODMAN: “Oh My God, like I said man, I was just so green behind the ears. I didn’t know. I just wanted to go out there and play. But I think Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Rick Mahorn, Vinnie Johnson all of those guys that were there before me, they hated them so much. But I didn’t know the rivalries were like that until I got to participate in the first games in 1986/87 and I tried to do my best to guard Larry Bird and it wasn’t to well. He kind of schooled me a little bit. He kind of schooled me the whole game, every game we played. ‘Dennis are you guarding me? Take that for you alright. I’ll take that.’ Larry, he would shoot a jumpshot and say ‘Dennis you like that? I’ll say, ‘you know what, man? The hell with you. The hell with you. Don’t worry about it, don’t worry about it.’ But after a couple years under my belt I said, ‘Oh ok, great, I belong in this league, brother. I belong in this league and all of a sudden now Larry bird started to respect me. Now you can see the last years we played in the Silver Dom, you saw that brawl when I tried to block Larry Birds shot. Bill Laimbeer came over and I fell backwards and Bill Laimbeer came and gave Larry a chop with a forearm. Then all of a sudden the melee! That’s when the rivalry started to really happen, right there and I said, ‘Oh man, I’m in the league now this is fun, this is fun.’ I became the quiet assassin with the bad boys. I did my job. I did the dirty work. I loved the work. I loved the people and that just drove me to do bigger and better things for the Detroit Pistons. And I just joined the bad boys, because I loved it”

BTM: “You just mentioned your matchups against Larry Bird. I’m a basketball historian and a basketball analyst and especially with the old-school basketball I noticed in your rookie season: Every single time you enter the game, you guarded Larry Bird and I was wondering was Chuck Daly the one who put you – a rookie on Larry Bird – or was it you?” 

DENNIS RODMAN: “I just think it’s the fact, that he saw a guy. Chuck Daly bless his soul. I love that guy. He’s like a God. I just think it’s the fact that he saw I was so elusive, I had so much energy, he figured that I can just sit there for 48 minutes a game and just guard anybody in the world. And he put the trust in me and I always told Chuck, `Just let me play, just let me play! I just want to do anything you want me to do. JUST LET ME PLAY!’ He said, ‘Dennis, go guard Larry Bird. At that point I didn’t know who the hell Larry Bird was. I just thought he was a white guy in the NBA that’s about it, that’s who I thought he was. Then he reminded me, he said, ‘Dennis, that’s a legend.’ I said, ‘Alright Great! Now what… now go out there and play right?’ That´s me, ‘Go out there and play his ass. Ok great!’ The more I played Larry Bird all of a sudden, now I got to figure out this game belongs to Dennis Rodman as far as defense and rebounding and I became such a phenom. That was my determination to go out there and stop the best guys – the best player on each team. That was my job”

BTM: “It’s funny, that you say that, because that would have been one of my next points. Especially in your younger days with the bad boys, it always looked like you had a chip on your shoulder and you want to guard the best guys to prove that you belonged.”

DENNIS RODMAN: “Yeah! It was amazing at the fact that, you know, every game I guarded like Dominique Wilkins, Charles Barkley. Whoever in the 80s and the early 90s – I guarded the toughest guys on the team because they trusted me to do one thing: shut them down, get rebounds, and do the little things that take the win. And it’s amazing when I guarded Michael Jordan back in the day and I was riding Michael Jordan’s ass (laughing). You know either way you score, darn-it I was right there damnit you´re going to get it the hard way. But it was amazing, I would say, when I came in the league I look back and I say, ‘Wow, here´s a guy from Central Arkansas, coming into the league called Scottie Pippen. I’m like, ‘Wow, we have a similar game. Scottie is just like me but he can shoot better!’ We had the same similar traits about playing defense, all around player just very humble and very unselfish. And for me, I think, the fact that the people of Detroit love me so much because I love to work – it wasn’t about the glamour or the glitz. It was about going out there doing your job, working hard, and having a good time, and taking a launch pale, and having a ham sandwich, and making it a day! make it a day, baby!” 

BTM: “You just mentioned MJ – I have a theory. I defend my theory to my death. I believe that if it wasn’t for the bad boys, Jordan would still be the goat in my book, but he would have never reached the level that he did because you guys took him to another level. What do you have to say for that?”

Watch out for Part 2 of the Interview