Dennis Rodman aka. The Worm, although retired for 17 years, is still considered to be one of the NBA’s ultimate villains. Known for his crazy antics both on and off the floor, Rodman built a “Bad Guy” reputation and stayed true to himself, never ceases to amaze us with unpredictable behavior.
More often than not, basketball fans forget how good Rodman was. The Worm was one of the best defensive players the league has ever seen. Standing at 6’7”, he would out-rebound much bigger players on a nightly basis and was a threat to anyone who entered the paint. Dennis finished his career with an average of 13.1 rebounds per game.
Here’s an interesting anecdote Isiah Thomas shared about Dennis during the Bad Boys era in Detroit:
“We were standing in the lay-up line, warming up and shooting, and Rodman was standing back and watching everybody shoots. I said, ‘Hey, come on, you have to participate; everybody’s shooting lay-ups, you have to shoot lay-ups, too.’ And he said, ‘I’m just watching the rotations on the basketball.’ I said, ‘Excuse me?’ He said, ‘Like when you shoot, your ball spins three times in the air. Joe’s sometimes has 3 1/2 or four times.’
“That’s how far Rodman had taken rebounding, to a totally different level, like off the charts. He knew the rotation of every person that shot on our team — if it spins sideways, where it would bounce, how often it would bounce left or right. He had rebounding down to a science, and I never heard anyone think or talk about rebounding and defense the way he could break it down.
“When you talk about basketball IQ, I’d put Rodman at a genius level.”