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“Isiah Thomas saved my career by taking the heat for my Larry Bird diss”: Dennis Rodman credited Pistons guard for an immense amount of his own success in NBA

Samir Mehdi

“Isiah Thomas saved my career by taking the heat for my Larry Bird diss”: Dennis Rodman credited Pistons guard for an immense amount of his own success in NBA

Dennis Rodman once claimed that Isiah Thomas saved his career by taking a majority of the blame from his own comments on Larry Bird. 

Dennis Rodman came into the NBA as the 27th overall pick for the Detroit Pistons and immediately clicked. While he was used to being a primary weapon on offense on SouthEastern Oklahoma State, Rodman was incredibly enthusiastic to take on more of a defensive role with the Pistons along with his patented rebounding. 

With the kind of team Chuck Daly was building, ‘The Worm’ fit perfectly into their system of physicality and hustle. So much so that he was Bill Laimbeer’s running mate in the frontcourt and helped guide them to two back-to-back championships; one over the Lakers and the other over the Blazers. 

Rodman would even make an All-NBA team in 1992 but this would be well past Isiah Thomas and company’s primes. While he wouldn’t stay in Detroit for the rest of his career, his play there gave him enough cache to be labelled a star in the league. 

Of course, someone who made Dennis’s life quite easy on the Pistons was one of the greatest point guards of all time, Isiah Thomas.

Also read: “Dennis Rodman was investigated for giving gifts to Kim Jong Un, defying USA!”: When Michael Jordan’s teammate landed in hot water for violating sanctions vs North Korea

Dennis Rodman on Isiah Thomas. 

In an interview with HoopsHype, Dennis Rodman opened up about his relationship with Isiah Thomas and how he eventually saved his career after he made certain comments against Larry Bird in his rookie year. 

“Well, Isiah was more of a big brother, was more of a mentor to me, than anybody. He would leave his house, his family, in the middle of the night to come take care of me. He knew that I wasn’t too bright, as far as living a life of NBA player. He took the time out, like Chuck Daly did.” 

“They took their time out to just embrace me and said, ‘Well, he’s not smart enough to understand what he’s into, what he’s going to get into.’ He’s been on my side from day 1. The things I said about Larry Bird in the ’87 playoff series, he took all the heat for me, which I didn’t know then, and he pretty much saved my career at that time.” 

“I think that he feels a love for me that he knows the ups and downs I’ve been through. He just feels that I’m part of his family; his kids and his wife, they just believe in me, and he’s just been that same emotional person to me, and I respect that from him.” 

The comments he’s referring to are the ones he made about how if Bird were black, he would be considered an average player. IT would end up taking the brunt end of the criticism for this comment despite the rookie Rodman conceptualizing it.

Also read: “Isiah Thomas, Chuck Daly and I were so close, we should have had s*x”: When Dennis Rodman gave a bizarre analogy to Rachel Nichols about his relationship with Pistons teammates

About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi


Samir Mehdi is a senior strategist for the NBA division at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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