Nobody would've thought that a shy kid from Trenton, New Jersey, would be remembered for the rest of his life as the "Bad Boy" of the NBA. For some, he was Madonna's ex-boyfriend, Kim Jong-Un's friend, or Michael Jordan's teammate who had his hair dyed in different colors. But for die-hard basketball fans, he is simply known as Dennis Rodman.
Drafted by the Detroit Pistons in '86, Rodman found himself becoming one of the most notable members of the late Chuck Daly's "Bad Boys" squad. Despite the team falling apart in the early 90s, Rodman went on and carried the bad boy attitude and image with him when he played for the San Antonio Spurs and the Chicago Bulls.
Pat can't handle the heat
Rodman won three NBA titles with the Bulls, having established himself as the team's ferocious rebounder and a force on the defensive end. But like any other dynasty, the Jordan-Scottie Pippen duo-led Bulls also had to break up, and it certainly did in 1998.
The following season, "The Worm" teamed up with another celebrated NBA duo in Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles. But this time, his infamous "Bad Boy" alter ego finally got the better of him, having his maiden season with the Lakers cut short to just 23 games due to off-court issues.
In the summer of 1999, Rodman, who could still play competitive basketball, came close to almost finding a new lease on life with the Miami Heat. However, then-Heat head coach Pat Riley reckoned he was just too much for them to handle.
"Pat Riley is too cool," Rodman told 7Sports News last year. "He is too cool for cool. You know, a lot of teams wanted me in 1999 because I still had some gas in the tank. Pat got too much pride. He has way too much pride. He said, 'Oh Dennis is too much for us, we can't handle him.'"
"If you can't handle me, how did you handle other people that played for Miami?," he questioned. "There were a lot more people that were way worse than me. I'm a winner, brother. I've been a winner for a long damn time. I earned that spot so I wish he would have pulled that trigger."
The beginning of the end
At 38 years old, Rodman was still in shape and could still grab a dozen of boards at any given night. Unfortunately, the "Bad Boy" stigma has taken over his career, and no team wanted to sign him besides the Dallas Mavericks.
After the Mavs went 3-9 in Rodman's first 12 games, and needless to say, a couple of off-court issues once again, the team finally released him.
Nobody can tell if Rodman's post-Bulls career trajectory would've taken a different route had the Heat decided to sign him in '99. Two things are certain, though. First, "Worm" would've surely electrified the American Airlines Arena (now FTX Arena) during Heat games. And, of course, he would've enjoyed some wild parties in Miami as well.