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“Squeezed My A** a Little Too…”: Labeled the Toughest Guy to Defend By Dennis Rodman, James Worthy Confesses The Worm’s Mental Games Were Extraordinary

Advait Jajodia
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“Squeezed My A** a Little Too...”: Labeled the Toughest Guy to Defend By Dennis Rodman, James Worthy Confesses The Worm's Mental Games Were Extraordinary

James Worthy recently appeared on Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s All The Smoke podcast. Across the 100-minute episode, the panel discussed multiple topics. At one point, Worthy shed light upon Dennis Rodman and how his mental game was remarkable.

The Los Angeles Lakers legend had no problem in admitting that Dennis Rodman was one of the very few players who could slow him down. Apart from stating that The Worm was an incredibly physical specimen to go up against, Big Game James also spoke about his admiration for the defensive specialist’s mental games.

Coincidentally, even Rodman regarded Worthy as the player he had the most problem defending. From what the two legends have been commenting regarding each other’s style of play and character, there clearly is a lot of mutual respect present.

James Worthy reveals the tricks that Dennis Rodman would use to get into his opponent’s head

James Worthy was asked to speak about Dennis Rodman, the player who “did a fairly good job of slowing” him down. Replying to Matt Barnes, the three-time NBA Champ commented on Rodman’s physicality. Apart from stating that the rebounding machine was a “beast”, James also praised his rival for being swift.

“He (Dennis Rodman) was bad, man. Dennis was a machine. He could guard anybody on the floor… Because he knew how to get physical and play and fly in. But his foot speed matched mine… Dennis was a beast, man,” Worthy claimed.

It is no surprise that Rodman played the game in a very physical manner. However, not many people know about the psychological games that he played. Apart from the usual trash-talking, Worthy disclosed a rather bizarre technique that the two-time Defensive Player of the Year used.

“He had the psychological games to get in your head. Before the game, you’d give him a dap. He squeezed my a** a little too… It wasn’t like, ‘Let’s go’… So now you’re thinking. You running down the court thinking about this motherf**ker, while he getting every f**king offensive rebound there is,” Worthy revealed.

While players would constantly be thinking about the pregame incident, Rodman would end up dominating the contest.

Dennis hated going up against Worthy

With seven rebounding titles, eight All-Defensive selections, and two Defensive Player of the Year awards, it is pretty safe to state that Dennis Rodman was an incredible defense-oriented star. From one to five, Dennis the Menace could match up well against each and every player.

However, Rodman did struggle when guarding James Worthy. In an interview appearance for Sports Illustrated Vault, the Chicago Bulls legend spoke about the difficulties that he had to face while defending Worthy. Despite standing around the same height as him, Worthy’s quickness would allow him to get the better of Rodman.

 “Usually, the guys I defended were bigger than me,” says Rodman. “But Worthy matched up height-wise, and I still couldn’t guard his ass. He’d come off a screen, and I’d try to see if he was going over the top or underneath. Next thing I knew, he was at the rim.”

Meeting each other on 28 different instances across their careers, Dennis ended up grabbing significantly more rebounds and blocking more shots. Ultimately owning a 17-11 winning record against his fellow Hall-Of-Famer.

About the author

Advait Jajodia

Advait Jajodia

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Advait Jajodia, a seasoned NBA journalist, has had a passion for the game for over a decade. His journey from admiring Kobe Bryant's precision to being in awe of Stephen Curry's long-range mastery instilled a profound understanding of basketball. With a background as a two-time National-level player, Advait uses his experience on the hardwood to offer insightful analysis. Over three years of dedicated sports journalism has equipped the 21-year-old with a unique perspective, reflected in his prolific portfolio of 3,700+ articles.

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