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Dennis Rodman on his time in San Antonio: "Popovich was the biggest problem"

Rodman's stint in San Antonio didn't end on good terms.
Pop and Rodman didn't have the best realtionship.

Pop and Rodman didn't have the best realtionship.

Although Gregg Popovich is one of the most universally loved and greatest head coaches in NBA history, it doesn't mean that he has had a good relationship with everyone in his long career. One of the guys that had bad words on Coach Pop is who other than one of the most unique characters in NBA history, Dennis Rodman.

Bad fit

Although we primarily think of Dennis Rodman in a Pistons and Bulls jersey, he also had a short stint in San Antonio. Rodman was a Spur for two seasons since 1993 to 1995, before eventually getting traded to the Bulls for Will Perdue for quite possibly the most memorable years of his career alongside MJ and Scottie.

Rodman was still in his early 30s in San Antonio, playing his role on an elite level, averaging 5.6 ppg and 17.1 rpg in his stint there. At that time, Gregg Popovich was still in the role of a GM, while Bob Hill served as the head coach. But that didn't mean that Pop wasn't the most influential voice in that franchise already at that time.

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Rodman revealed in his book from 1997 that Popovich had the main word, intervening in Hill's work to a fault:

"The biggest problem in San Antonio was Gregg Popovich, the general manager. He wanted to be the coach and the general manager. He stood around and held Bob Hill's (then the coach of the Spurs) hand every day, saying, 'Okay, you've got to do this now. It's time for you to listen to me.' If Hill didn't do it, Popovich would jump his ass, and so HIll would turn around and jump somebody else's ass. Shit flows downhill, and it seemed like I was always at the bottom...."

Dennis Rodman, Bad as I Wanna Be

Like we said before, Rodman was an eccentric guy and unpredictable, which was the complete opposite of the professional Spurs franchise. Popovich loved what Rodman brought to the table on the floor, but he wanted to make him a different man outside of it, which obviously couldn't work with "Dennis The Menace":

"Popovich wanted to be the guy who tamed Dennis Rodman, and he tried to use Hill to do his dirty work. That was Popovich's big challenge. Mr. Military was going to make me a good little boy, a good soldier. He lost sight of everything else, and then when he decided he couldn't do anything with me, he badmouthed me and gave me away for next to nothing. Then he pretended it was good for the team".

Dennis Rodman, Bad as I Wanna Be

Popovich always took pride in making men out of his players and teaching them how to be professionals off the court before players on the court, and obviously, Rodman wasn't having it. The free spirit of Dennis was impossible to tame, and it resulted in Pop sending him away to the Bulls for a less than an exciting package.

Obviously, that didn't sit well with Rodman, but it all worked perfectly, as he got put into the perfect role with the Bulls, adding three more championships to his impressive resume. On the other side, Gregg Popovich would take on the head coaching role in 1996, after trading away Rodman, and you can say things worked out for both in their own separate ways.

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