Dennis Rodman is considered one of the best defensive players in NBA history, with five championships and seven All-NBA Defensive First Team selections to show for it. He was never one for the offensive spotlight but contributed to the offense in his own way with his exceptional passing and elite rebounding ability. For starters, Rodman holds the record for most offensive rebounds in a single game with eleven. Can you lose a game while giving Michael Jordan eleven extra opportunities to score? Rodman is undoubtedly one of the most underrated players the game has ever seen, simply because he chose to do the less glamorous things on the court.
Apparently, this did not bother Rodman at all during his playing years. Dennis joined the Fullsend Podcast recently and gave fans an explanation of why he could play his role to perfection.
“I love defense and rebounding.”Dennis Rodman, via Fullsend Podcast
Well, Rodman is not the first to profess their love for the defensive side of the ball. For example, Kobe Bryant once expressed that same love for playing defense when discussing his time with Team USA. Bryant mentioned in multiple interviews that with Team USA, he did not have to focus on scoring as much because of all the talent on the team; the roster allowed him to do what he loved the most, play defense. The reason? He loved the feeling of stopping somebody on the defensive end, anticipating their moves, and pressuring opponents to make them feel uncomfortable. For Dennis, the reason is a lot more straightforward, which should not surprise those familiar with Rodman’s character.
“I love it (defense and rebounding) because it makes me feel like I’m working hard for my money.”Dennis Rodman, via Fullsend Podcast
We know many players love the game and understand the physical demands of being an NBA player. Some relish it, some don’t, but it seems like everybody who puts in the required time of a professional knows and feels like it’s hard work. Rodman’s statement is just another peek into his rather unique perspective on basketball and of life. That perhaps helps fans like us make sense of where Dennis’s unlimited energy and toughness are derived. Metta Sandiford-Artest was a great defensive player due to his physical strength and quick hands. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant studied the game so much that they had unbelievable instincts from the hours of work they put in.
Rodman had that same instinct but was a bigger player, had an incredible nose for the ball, and had unlimited amounts of energy. Rodman also loved defense and rebounding because it made him feel like he was working hard, a feeling which he relished. It’s safe to say that in the age of social media coupled with unbelievable scoring expectations for players, we will never see a player with the mindset and output that Dennis Rodman gave us during his playing years.