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“Flip-Flops and His Bulldogs”: Dennis Rodman’s Time in the ABA Gets a Deeper Look from Matt Barnes

Trikansh Kher

"Flip-Flops and His Bulldogs": Dennis Rodman's Time in the ABA Gets a Deeper Look from Matt Barnes

NBA player turned analyst Matt Barnes was recently a guest on the popular hoop Podcast, Podcast P with Paul George. On the show, the former NBA player revealed a relatively unknown fact about his playing career. Barnes revealed that he played alongside NBA legend Dennis Rodman during his stint with the Long Beach Jam of the American Basketball Association aka ABA.

The duo first met back in 2003, when Barnes was trying to start his career in the league. On the other hand, Rodman was far past his NBA prime and was looking to make a comeback in the league. During the podcast, Barnes was asked about his experience playing alongside the Bulls legend in the ABA. In response, the 44-year-old said,

“Unfortunately, it didn’t last long, I got called up, but he [Rodman] was trying to make a comeback [in the NBA]. I think he was fresh off a motorcycle accident…We were together for like three weeks and he would come to practice with an entourage, and flip-flops and his bulldogs and just super cool…didn’t talk a ton.”


Though Barnes and Rodman didn’t play a lot together during their ABA days, they did manage to lead the Long Beach Jam to an ABA Championship that year[ 2003-04]. Soon after, Barnes was called up to play for the Los Angeles Clippers, while Rodman bounced around other leagues. Rodman first began his ABA career with the Long Beach Jam, before requesting a trade. The five-time NBA Champion went on to play three seasons in the ABA (with Long Beach Jam, Orange County Crush and Tijuana Dragons), before trying his luck overseas. He finally hung up his sneakers in 2006, choosing to retire for good this time.

Rodman’s wild ways during his stint in the league ensured that the former Bulls superstar was in financial trouble in the dusk of his career. Therefore, he tried to make a miraculous push to return to the NBA following his retirement. However, his unconventional antics and lack of discipline would hurt his chances with most teams in the league.

Dennis Rodman faced a lot of trouble during his ABA days

After being waived by the Mavericks back in 2000, Rodman had his eyes set on making a return to the league through the ABA and other professional leagues. Unfortunately for him, his dream of returning to the NBA never came to fruition.

Setting aside the struggles in his professional life, Rodman was also dealing with a high-profile DUI case after the 6’7 forward crashed a bike while performing stunts outside a Las Vegas club. Coupled with his DUI case, Rodman also made headlines for settling his infamous ‘1998 case’, which saw him being accused of fondling women in a Las Vegas casino. 

Rodman’s behavior coupled with a string off other cases ensured that the then 38-year old never made a return to the NBA, officially putting an end to his Hall Of Fame career.

Post Edited By:Satagni Sikder

About the author

Trikansh Kher

Trikansh Kher

Trikansh Kher is a writer at The Sports Rush. A lawyer by education, Trikansh has always been around sports. As a young track athlete Trikansh was introduced to basketball through 'street ball' mixtapes. He was hooked and it has been 'ball is life' ever since. Trikansh is a designer by profession, but couldn't keep away from basketball. A regular on the blacktop, his love for the game goes further than just hooping. If Trikansh isn't going through box scores for last night's game, you can find him in his studio working on his designs or playing squash at the local club.

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