If you think about the all-time great teams in NBA history, the Chicago Bulls from the mid-1990’s come to mind. A team that had Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and a couple of excellent bench players coached by Phil Jackson was by far the most dominant ball club during that era. They were considered rock stars among basketball players, but it took a bit of effort to get all of them to play like a coherent unit.
Before his arrival to the Bulls, Dennis Rodman already established himself as the biggest bad boy in the NBA but at the same time, the best rebounder in NBA by far, especially when you consider he was undersized for the position he would usually play. Apart from that, Rodman was once a member of the Detroit Pistons, a team that was the biggest rival to the Bulls. There was still some bad blood between them at that time when Rodman joined the Bulls.
Phil Jackson recognized what the issue was, and even though he needed Rodman in his team because he needed a great rebounder, he understood that Rodman would have to make an effort to gain trust from Jordan and Pippen. Jackson knew Pippen still holds a grudge because of what happened back in the 1991 NBA finals when the Pistons left the game and never actually congratulated the Bulls for beating them.
In an interview, Rodman reflected on that moment when he was joining the Chicago Bulls and what he had to do to gain Jordan’s and Pippen’s trust.
I think he knew what kind of team he had in terms of missing pieces, and the missing piece was me. The fact is that he didn’t want to tell Phil Jackson that we need a rebounder, so Phil Jackson came to me and asked me if I want to play for him. So we are at Jerry Kraus house and Michael is there, Scottie is there, Phil is there so he asked Mike and Scottie if they want Dennis on the team. They initially said they will take me. Phil came to me and told me that both Mike and Scottie want me on the team but he asked me to do one thing first. Won’t you go over there and apologize to Scottie for everything that happened back in 1991, and I apologized to Scottie. Afterward, he just said great, let’s go out there and play basketball.