Before he became teammates with Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman was mentored by Isiah Thomas – the greatest player in Pistons’ history.
Michael Jordan had to carry a heavy burden through the first 9 seasons of his career. It was so bad early on that Jordan had to average nearly 35 points per game through 3 seasons before Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen began pulling their weight.
During this time, Jordan faced the Detroit Pistons 4 straight years in the playoffs. This meant that he often had to battle Dennis Rodman while trying to score. Many consider ‘The Worm’ to be the greatest defender of the era, and one of the greatest ever.
Bill Laimbeer drafted 3rd rd 54th pick
Joe Dumars- mid major combo guard undersized in the 80’s
Dennis Rodman- NAIA college
Rick Mahorn- 2nd round pick 35
— Rashad Phillips (@RP3natural) February 15, 2021
Things would change in 1995, when Rodman was traded by the San Antonio Spurs to Chicago. Rodman and Jordan were teammates for 3 seasons when they combined for a threepeat with Scottie Pippen.
Isiah Thomas motivated Dennis Rodman to focus and improve himself
Dennis Rodman has one of the most improbable stories in NBA history. This is a man who never played recognized high school basketball. He picked up the game in college and became a one-size-fits-all player.
His athletic ability gave him a lot of intrigue as he entered the draft at the age of 25. Selected in the second round by the Detroit Pistons, Rodman matured into one of the iconic figures of 90s basketball.
But this maturity came only with constant reminders from teammates, chiefly one Isiah Thomas. Chuck Daly and the Pistons were great at getting the best out of the mercurial forward.
“What changed my whole life is when Isiah Thomas came to me one day,” Rodman explained. “He pulled me over and hit me in the chest so damn hard, and he said, ‘You know, Dennis, this is not a game. This is not a joke. We want to win a championship. You’ve got to get your act together, get your ass together and get your head focused. You can’t keep going out with [teammate] John Salley. You gotta do your job.”