- Sunday night’s 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 was one of the greatest rebounders in the history of basketball, recording 20+ rebounds in a modern-era NBA-record 159 games and earning seven rebounding titles in his career.
- During episode three of the series, Rodman explained that he perfected the art of rebounding during late-night gym sessions with friends in which he tracked the trajectory of different shots.
- “I just practiced a lot about the angle of the ball and the trajectory of it,” Rodman said. “Basically I just started learning how to put myself in a position to get the ball.”
- He even studied individual players’ shots. “You got a Larry Bird; it’s gonna spin,” he said. “You got a Magic [Johnson]; there may be spin. When [Jordan] shoots over here, I position myself right there.”
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If Dennis Rodman is known for anything beyond his off-court antics and eccentric style, it is his extraordinary rebounding ability.
In the third episode of “The Last Dance” – ESPN’s docuseries about Michael Jordan and his 1997-1998 championship team – Rodman shed light on how he perfected the art of racking up boards. The Chicago Bulls bruiser – who, to this day, is known as one of the best rebounders in the history of the NBA – said he’d spend late-night gym sessions with friends in which he tracked the trajectory of different shots.
“I used to have my friends late at night – s–t, three, four in the morning – go to the gym and I said ‘shoot the ball,'” Rodman said. “‘Shoot over here, shoot over here, shoot over there, shoot over there. I’d sit there and react, react.”
By his third year in the league, Rodman said he recognised that rebounding and defence were the strongest part of his game and worked tirelessly to get better.
“I just practiced a lot about the angle of the ball and the trajectory of it,” Rodman said. “Basically I just started learning how to put myself in a position to get the ball.”
Rodman even studied individual players’ forms across the league so he would know how to react when they put a shot up.
“You got a Larry Bird; it’s gonna spin,” he said. “You got a Magic [Johnson]; there may be spin. When [Jordan] shoots over here, I position myself right there.”
It paid off in spades. Rodman recorded 20+ rebounds in a whopping 159 games – more than any other player in the modern era of the NBA – and earned seven rebounding titles in his esteemed career. And during the Bulls’ historic 1997-98 championship run, the quirky five-time NBA champion became the oldest player to lead the league in boards at 36 years old.
You need a refresher on how insanely good Dennis Rodman was at rebounding? pic.twitter.com/Ul7LhRx5fl
— Bulls Talk (@NBCSBulls) April 26, 2020
Rodman’s prowess off the backboard was due to a combination of his incredible basketball IQ, his dedication to refining the craft, and his unrelenting grit.
“I want to go out there and get my nose broke,” Rodman said in a clip featured in the episode. “I wanna go out there and get cut. Something that’s going to bring out the pain – I want to feel that.”
And though many knew Rodman for his off-court escapades – including the time Jordan had to go to Las Vegas to pull him out of a hotel room with Carmen Electra and bring him to practice – His Airness attested to the fact that Rodman was remarkably committed to preparing for his role on the court.
“In all honesty, Dennis was always there,” Jordan said in the following episode, while recounting a time when Rodman forced the team into excessively difficult workouts post-vacation.
“He was always on point.”
- Read more:
- 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
- Michael Jordan once had to retrieve Dennis Rodman from a Las Vegas hotel room in the middle of a season, all while Carmen Electra hid out of sight
- Map shows where every state stands in the Michael Jordan-LeBron James GOAT debate
- The liquor Michael Jordan was drinking during his ‘Last Dance’ interviews is a Tequila brand he co-owns, and bottles can go for as much as $US1,800 each
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