Former Bulls forward Dennis Rodman reveals Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson helped him slow down on his recreational activities during his years in Chicago.
It would not be wrong to say that the Bulls would have failed to 3-peat for the second time without the services of The Worm. While Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen took most of the care on the offensive side, winning championships wasn’t possible without elite defense, and that’s where Dennis Rodman came in.
However, it’s no secret that Rodman had his quirks, often coming across as eerie and erratic. The Bulls legend was not your quintessential NBA superstar. Whether it was his much-publicized affair with the Queen of Pop Madonna or the notorious trips to Las Vegas, Rodman led quite an extravagant life.
Controversy’s favorite child, Rodman, was a regular in the headlines, more for his off-court antics. The former Bulls superstar evidently didn’t mix well with others and followed an anti-authority approach. Thus was at the receiving end of numerous controversies and suspensions.
There were only a few who could understand the psyche of Rodman, with Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan being that niche. The Worm confessed how the Phil and MJ guided him during the former’s initial years in Chicago.
Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan helped me a lot: Dennis Rodman.
Post a bitter exit from San Antonio, Rodman, was traded to the Bulls, where he played 3-seasons, winning a championship in each. The Worm averaged an impressive 15.3 RPG donning the Bulls uniform. However, Rodman did require supervision, courtesy of his recreational ways of living.
That’s where the Zen Master and His Airness stepped in, recommending The Worm to cut down a bit on his off-court antics. Both Phil and MJ knew the mantra it took to bring Rodman in line. On the other hand, The Worm was always receptive to the two.
“I think Phil Jackson and Michael came in once and said, ‘Dennis, you know, we like you, we love you, we just want you to just slow down, on the going out almost every night and stuff like that,'” revealed Rodman.
“I think the 2nd year and the 3rd year that I was having a good time, but for me to survive that, I had to work out every day. I didn’t take no drugs, I didn’t take any substance besides alcohol but I wasn’t drinking alcohol 24×7, I was just doing it after games, but they sat me down and said, ‘Dennis, you know, we want you here to enjoy and just kinda cut back a little bit.’ So I actually did cut back and that’s about 3-years in Chicago.”
It seems like the spiritual habits of the Zen Master was passed on to MJ, who developed the patience to deal with an individual like Rodman.