Tag: Bulls

Bulls let Dennis Rodman take vacation during NBA title-winning season, Michael Jordan dragged him back

One of the most shocking parts about the Chicago Bulls’ 1997-98 championship run was when Dennis Rodman took a vacation to Las Vegas in the middle of the season, which was documented in “The Last Dance” on Sunday.

Rodman was described as the “model citizen” in the days and games that Scottie Pippen was out with an injury. However, once Pippen returned, Rodman was described as becoming “dramatic, drinking, partying and losing his connection with reality.”

Rodman asked the team for a vacation and was allowed to go to Las Vegas for “48 hours,” which was met by Michael Jordan’s skepticism.


“You let him go on vacation, we’re not going to see him,” Jordan said. “You let him go to Vegas, and we’re definitely not going to see him.”

Carmen Electra, Rodman’s girlfriend at the time, talked about the wild moments of being with Rodman in Las Vegas. She said it was an “occupational hazard” to be his girlfriend.


Jordan said he had to go to Las Vegas himself and get Rodman out of his hotel room.

“He didn’t come back on time, we had to go get his a** out of bed,” Jordan said. “I’m not going to say what was in his bed, where he was, blah blah blah.”

Giving Rodman a long leash appeared to be the secret sauce that blended the Bulls perfectly together.


The future Hall of Famer was still a rebounding machine. He led the NBA with 15 rebounds per game during the 1997-98 season.

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‘The Last Dance’ Episode 3: Dennis Rodman’s time with Michael Jordan’s Bulls

Michael Jordan was the quintessential franchise player. Scottie Pippen was the prototypical sidekick. Rodman was the wild card of all wild cards, dating the likes of Madonna and Carmen Electra while dyeing his hair and accessorizing with countless tattoos and nose rings.

His antics were impossible to ignore, but Rodman was content to operate in the shadows on the court. He welcomed tough defensive assignments, mastered rebounding angles, played with boundless energy and never worried about his own scoring. He was already well into his 30s by the time he arrived in Chicago, but he still laid out horizontally chasing loose balls and hounded opponents on defense.

His excellence shouldn’t be overlooked or undersold. A seven-time rebounding champion and one of the premier defenders of his era, “The Worm” earned five championship rings during his Hall of Fame career.

“I created this monster,” Rodman said in a recent video interview, referring to his wild persona. “Nobody could say anything bad about me as a teammate. If you take me away from this [Bulls] team, do they still win a championship? I don’t think so.”

Like Pippen, Rodman overcame serious poverty to make his mark at a small-time college not known for producing NBA talent. “The Last Dance” unearthed remarkable footage of a hyperactive Rodman flying around the court at Southeastern Oklahoma State, but his delayed basketball journey saw him last until the second round of the 1986 draft. He didn’t make his NBA debut until he was 25.

“I lived in the street for two years,” he said in an interview. “I could have been a drug dealer. I could have been dead. I don’t know why I never did that drug stuff, but I never did. I’d just sit there and watch them do it.”

Rodman emerged as a key role player for the Detroit Pistons in the late 1980s. Isiah Thomas said Rodman arrived to the “Bad Boys” as an “innocent, beautiful” person who was “a little naive about the world,” but his tenacity made him a natural fit. Coach Chuck Daly compared Rodman’s spirit to a “mustang,” while Rodman said his aggravating style of play was akin to “that rash you can’t get rid of.”

As Rodman acclimated to Detroit, Jordan and Pippen were climbing the standings in Chicago. Unleashed by Doug Collins, then an energetic young coach, Jordan established himself as the NBA’s signature player, winning the MVP award, Defensive Player of the Year honors and the Slam Dunk Contest.

During the 1989 playoffs, Jordan hit “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo to eliminate the Cleveland Cavaliers. For Jordan, who celebrated his series clincher by jumping and wildly pumping his fist, it was a turning point.

“We finally got over the hump of a loser’s mentality,” Jordan said, gleefully recalling his reaction at the time. “Get the f— out of here. Whoever’s not with us, all you f—ers go to hell.”

Chicago and Detroit were on a collision course. Rodman, with his length, physicality and peskiness, was

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