Dennis Rodman once made Michael Jordan and the Bulls go all out in a drill designed to get him back in shape after a personal vacation

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  • The third and fourth episodes of “The Last Dance” – ESPN’s docuseries about Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls – introduced viewers to Dennis Rodman.
  • The eccentric Bulls forward took a personal vacation midway through the season, and once he returned, head coach Phil Jackson made his goal “to get Dennis back in shape,” according to Jordan.
  • Jackson put his team through an “Indian drill,” in which players run in a line and whoever is in the back must sprint to the front, and Jordan recalled telling his teammates to “slow down to a f—in’ walk.”
  • Rodman didn’t get the memo and ran full speed, according to Jordan, who said it took the team “four laps to catch up to Dennis.”
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Dennis Rodman may be best known for his off-court antics, but the eccentric Chicago Bulls forward worked incredibly hard to be ready for gameplay.

So hard, in fact, that it sometimes came at the expense of his teammates.

Dennis rodman 1997Michael Conroy/AP ImagesDennis Rodman.

During the third and fourth episodes of “The Last Dance” – ESPN’s docuseries about Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 Bulls – viewers learned about Rodman’s midseason personal vacation to Las Vegas. After Jordan went to Las Vegas to pull Rodman out of a hotel room and get him to practice, head coach Phil Jackson’s mission was “to get Dennis back in shape.” Jackson put the whole team through conditioning drills to help Rodman prepare to rejoin the team.

“So I’m saying, ‘Well f—, this is kind of messed up,'” Jordan recalled. “Because now I’m getting caught up in the Dennis get-in-shape drill when in essence, I hadn’t taken a vacation.”

They did an “Indian drill,” according to Jordan, an exercise in which teammates run together in a line and the person in the back is required to sprint to the front. A blow of the whistle by Jackson was the cue for the person in back to sprint. The player at the front of the line was responsible for setting the overall pace, which determined how difficult it would be for the player in the back to catch up.

“So I tell everybody in that group, ‘Look, whoever gets in the front of that row, slow down to a f—in’ walk,'” Jordan said during episode four of “The Last Dance.” “‘We’re just going to jog and jog and jog and jog.'”

Reuters

Jordan said many of his teammates, like Steve Kerr and Jud Buechler, ran slowly once they reached the front. Rodman, however, apparently missed the memo.

“Dennis takes off – boom,” Jordan said, adding that Jackson “blows the whistle, now we cannot stop until we get back in front of Dennis – it took us four laps to catch up to Dennis.”

“It was, like, in his psyche,” Jordan added. “He needed to get away.”

Though Rodman was undoubtedly a maverick and often attracted attention from the public and the press over his quirky persona, Jordan acknowledged that the seven-time rebounding champion was consistent in his preparation and on-court efforts.

“In all honesty, Dennis was always there,” Jordan said. “He was always on point.”

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