Skip to main content

“If I didn’t go to Detroit, I probably would have been out of the NBA my second or third year” — Dennis Rodman on how today's NBA would react to his Bad Boy image

For the die-hard Rodman fans, this might not come as a surprise. But for those who don’t know, behind “Dennis the Menace” is a sensitive person who needed to be “cared for and loved,” something he found in Detroit.
Detroit Pistons forward Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman

The dyed hair, numerous tattoos, and piercings… Dennis Rodman’s influence on the sport is something hard to put into words but is something we can all identify. The electricity he brought to the game is undeniable, but it was often viewed as unconventional, dirty, and what youngsters like to call “NSFW” or not suitable for work. 

Times have changed

Having become one of the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” upon entering the league, Rodman seemed destined for that persona. And he proved it by continuing where he left off when he joined the San Antonio Spurs in 1993. In fact, “Worm” even amplified his bad boy image, and by the time he signed with the Chicago Bulls, he was already famous for it.

But unlike other bad boys in the game, who had a reference and a plan for their character, Rodman said “it all just came naturally” to him. Therefore, regardless of what era he played in, Rodman is certain that he would still be the same player and person. The only difference is, according to the man himself, he “would be accepted now” as times have changed and guys like him are no longer hated. If anything, they even grow their fan base these days.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

I was probably the only player in the history of sports to build an image by himself,” Rodman told Sports Illustrated’s The Crossover in 2019. “It was all raw and natural, no Nike, no Adidas, no Converse. I would be accepted now. I wouldn’t be as flamboyant now as I was then. I would be one of many.

It’s all about giving love

For the die-hard Rodman fans, this might not come as a surprise. But for those who don’t know, behind “Dennis the Menace” is a sensitive person who needed to be “cared for and loved,” something he found in Detroit.

If I didn’t go to Detroit, I probably would have been out of the NBA my second or third year,” he confessed. “I needed to be embraced and cared and loved to keep me safe. The team and city really embraced me so much.

Rodman went on to say that Pistons fans were amazing and whatever he did inside the court, people would “stand up and cheer.” And that explains why Rodman was “so happy, energetic, alive, and exuberant” whenever he plays, as he admittedly concluded, “I just wanted to show the love back to people.

Looking at the game today, it appears that Rodman was right. Because if not, most of us won’t appreciate the new generation of NBA bad boys such as Draymond Green and Metta World Peace.

February 9, 2019; Houston Rockets forward Kenneth Faried celebrates a play vs. Oklahoma City Thunder at Toyota Center

“I’m ready, I’m focused, I’m locked in” - Kenneth Faried eyeing NBA comeback

The Manimal has his sights set on a return to where it all started.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) controls the ball against Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga (00)/; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles against Golden State Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga (00)

“It was even tougher guarding Kyrie than guarding Ja” - Jonathan Kuminga compares the two star point guards

Irving lit up the Dubs for 38 points, seven rebounds, and nine assists in their latest bout.

NBA on TNT analyst and Fall of Famer Charles Barkley with New Orleans Pelicans star forward Zion Williamson

"He missed too many games” - Charles Barkley picks two guys who deserve All-Star starter nod over Zion Williamson

Despite missing significant time, Zion has still been a beast whenever he takes court for the Pelicans.

December 31, 2022; Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo reacts during the game against the Utah Jazz during the third quarter at Vivint Arena

“There are guys that shouldn’t even be on that list” - Bam Adebayo takes a massive dig at All-Star Fan Voting

Bam Adebayo was frustrated after he, along with his Miami Heat teammates, was snubbed in the 2023 All Star starters voting.

January 15, 2023; Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook reacts following the loss against the Philadelphia 76ers at Crypto.com Arena

“He’s selling jerseys like a superstar does” - Lakers reporter says the organization wants to keep Russell Westbrook for his stature

Some Lakers fans likely won't be thrilled to hear about the team's supposed reason for holding on to Russ

Former NBA player-turned-analyst Kendrick Perkins suggests that the Brooklyn Nets should trade Ben Simmons

"You couldn't put him on the floor" - Kendrick Perkins urges Brooklyn Nets to trade Ben Simmons before the trade deadline

Kendrick Perkins makes an honest plea to the Nets to trade Ben Simmons before the 2023 trade deadline.

January 25, 2023; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James during the game against the San Antonio Spurs at Crypto.com Arena

Stephen A. Smith explains why LeBron James is 2nd on his all-time list despite "not having the resume of (Kareem) Abdul-Jabbar or Bill Russell"

Although he praises LeBron, Stephen A. Smith still puts Michael Jordan above Lakers' legend on NBA's all-time list.