Sunday, April 3, 2011

Enter the Hall of The Worm

Dennis Rodman is going to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Image via
In the span of ten years, Dennis Rodman wrestled Scottie Pippen, guarded Michael Jordan, goaded the immortal Frank Brickowski into a near brawl, grabbed a few rebounds, went to war alongside Pippen and Jordan against Karl Malone, and joined forces with Hulk Hogan to actually fight Malone (It was a real fight....Professional Wrestling is real....It's real......It's real..........).  I don't care which Hall of Fame honors the dude; from grabbing serious 'bounds to Carmen Electra's luscious mounds, Rodman has done enough to be associated with any hall of fame, regardless of where this hall is located or why it exists.  Another memorable achievement Rodman can add to his life resume is helping five teams win championships within the above 10-year span.  Not too shabby.

The Basketball Hall of Fame is supposed to capture historic moments, teams and especially players.  It immortalizes them for basketball fans, providing future generations with a timeline to appreciate significant, era-defining players.  Rodman was never the best player on his championship teams (Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan were), but his integral involvement in five championships (and his relationship to both nascent and decaying dynasties from 1989-1998) mean he was a subplot for major events in professional basketball during an era.

The Bad Boy Pistons won two championships from 1989 to 1990, using toughness, rebounding, and defense as their vital cogs for success.  They ripped down the two dynasties of the 1980's, Boston and Los Angeles, and held back Jordan's Bulls for a few years.  One-vs.-one defensive extraordinaire Dennis Rodman was responsible for manhandling the young, vulnerable Pippen, providing the first line of defense against Jordan at his athletic peak, and putting the clamps on an aging-yet-effective Larry Bird.  Pip, MJ and "Legend" were perimeter-oriented players, mind you.   

The 1996 Chicago Bulls won a league-record 72 games; they had the best offense and the best defense in the league.  The Bulls won three championships between 1996 and 1998, with Rodman being sandwiched between a rock and a Shaquille O'Neal, a Karl Malone, an Alonzo Mourning and a Shawn Kemp in a series of tests against some of the most physically dominant big men in NBA history.  Those are truly hard places to survive in, yet Rodman did it.  The Worm earned that freaky nickname after all.     

He was the most versatile defender in NBA history, guarding electric smalls and massive bigs.  Along the way, he led the league in rebounding seven times, won NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice, and was named to numerous all-defensive teams.  He dug his name into the record books- not with long, painted-on fingernails, but with sheer hustle (though he definitely dug a fingernail into some poor, unsuspecting power forward who tried boxing him out).  For all the talk about Rodman being a distraction, he was still able to play a role on a title team devoid of a true superstar in Detroit.  The Pistons relied on teamwork arguably more than any other champion ever.  Rodman, despite all of the antics, was smart enough to learn the triangle offense in Chicago; Chicago's offense thrived with the "offensive liability."

And the man did it for merely $26 million over the course of his career.  I know- poor Rodman only made double what you'll make in your lifetime.  My point is that Rodman did the dirty work on title teams, and wasn't paid jack-gummy worms compared to some of the players of this era.  If Erick Dampier could make $97 million (and counting!) over the course of his career, what would Rodman rake in in this era?

Rodman left a mark.  He left a side-winding, stretched-out-to-get-the-rebound-while-going-out-of-bounds, historic body print all over the NBA record books.  The Basketball Hall of Fame is where he belongs.

I cannot wait for his induction speech....

No comments:

Post a Comment