mobile app bar

Phil Jackson Once Forced Steve Kerr to Party with a ‘Disassociated’ Dennis Rodman in Atlantic City

Trikansh Kher

Phil Jackson Once Forced Steve Kerr to Party with a 'Disassociated' Dennis Rodman in Atlantic City

After Michael Jordan’s return to the Chicago Bulls in 1995, the team’s management decided on signing Dennis Rodman from the San Antonio Spurs to add more suitable pieces around MJ. Though Rodman was an excellent defender and a monster on the boards, the ‘Worm’ came with his own set of problems. Rodman was eccentric, and needed a break from basketball from time to time, often choosing to party hard in his off-time.

Coach Jackson often allowed Rodman to engage in his ‘hedonistic’ ventures, as he knew that the Bulls would need Rodman fully focused once the playoffs rolled in. But there were times when Jackson preferred that Rodman be chaperoned by more responsible members of the Bulls team.

Recalling one such story during a recent appearance on the Rich Eisen Show, former Bulls sharpshooter, Steve Kerr, revealed the details of an interesting tale of partying alongside Rodman in Atlantic City. The Warriors’ Head Coach said,

“Phil [Jackson] came to Jud Buechler and me and he said, ‘Hey listen Dennis is drifting away from the team. I want you guys to go with him to Atlantic City tonight.’ …We had a wild night with Dennis in Atlantic City. Stayed out all night and came back to the hotel at like 7 in the morning. And we had to practice and as we walked into the hotel, there was Phil looking at us, and J and I didn’t know how to behave…”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by The Rich Eisen Show (@richeisenshow)

Kerr recalled Phil Jackson not reprimanding the duo, as the Bulls Head Coach told his two players to quickly suit up for that day’s practice, which was due in two hours. While Kerr and Buechler had practice that day, Rodman was given an off due to him being a starter on the team. “See you later s*ckers,” Jackson had said to Kerr and Buechler that day before walking away.

Phil Jackson knew that conventional methods won’t work on Dennis Rodman and it’s futile to try to discipline the chaotic ways of the Bulls star. Therefore, instead of trying to force his ways on Rodman, Jackson tried to find some method to his madness to create the best outcome for both Rodman and the team.

Dennis Rodman loved going to Vegas 

The incident with Kerr and Buechler was just one of Rodman’s many mid-season vacations. Rodman had a pattern of taking off days whenever he felt burnt out, and sometimes he had to be forcibly bought back from his mini-vacations.

Back in 1998, something similar happened when Rodman was given a “48-hour vacation” in the middle of an important series. Rodman didn’t return on time. Jordan even recalled the incident in his 2020 docu-series The Last Dance, saying,

“He didn’t come back on time…We had to get his a** out of bed.”

Though Rodman was a day or two late, the purpose of the vacation was achieved, the Worm was now rejuvenated and locked in. The Bulls ended up winning the 1997-98 Championship, closing out their 2nd three-peat in the Michael Jordan era.

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.

Read more from Trikansh Kher

Share this article