When the Chicago Bulls were preparing to make their second three-peat, they detected that they need toughness and someone who can rebound the ball. The Bulls management looked at Dennis Rodman as being that player that is the missing piece for the franchise to get back on the winning side of things. However, the problem was the previous rivalry the Bulls had with the Detroit Bad Boys Pistons, on which Rodman was one of the most important players. That rivalry was intense and often on the verge of physical confrontation every time these two teams played against each other.
In an interview for the Basketball Time Machine, Rodman talked about that specific moment when he apologized to Scottie Pippen to play for the Bulls. It was a meeting arranged by Jerry Krause, and he invited Phil Jackson, Jordan, and Pippen. The notion was that if they wanted Rodman on board, that would be the only way it could work. However, Krause didn’t want to work behind their backs, primarily because of Rodman’s reputation in the NBA and the fact he played for the Pistons.
It was so f***ing awkward. I’m outside. Phil Jackson is inside. Scottie is over there, Mike is over there, Jerry Krause is over there, and his wife is cooking food for us and stuff like that. Phil came out to me on the patio and said Dennis, I just want you to do one thing. He said just go and apologize to Scottie Pippen. I said, really, okay. I walk inside and say, Scottie, is everything good? I just want to be a part of this team and win championships. He said Dennis, welcome to the team. After that, right there, life was good.Dennis Rodman, via Basketball Time Machine
Rodman also added that from that moment on, when it might have been questionable if they would accept him on the Bulls, things clicked with them immediately. That chemistry translated on the basketball court in which they won 72 regular-season games and a championship. Rodman is convinced they could’ve won even more simply because they were superior to the rest of the teams in the NBA.
When you are playing in the NBA, and you play with all these stars, you are so used to playing the game of basketball. If you got winners on your team like Michael, Scottie, Phil Jackson, all the boys. When you click together, and Bulls realized I was the missing piece. The next thing you know, 72 and 10, and we could have won 75 games.Dennis Rodman, via Basketball Time Machine
As it turned out, Rodman was the perfect fit for the Bulls, who proceeded to dominate the NBA in the upcoming years playing beautiful and unselfish basketball. With them three and a great supporting cast run by the greatest coach in NBA history, the Bulls did all the right things to make that dominant run during those years. And as Rodman said in this interview, it all started with an apology to Scottie Pippen.