On this date exactly 30 years ago, Dennis Rodman officially asserted himself as one of the best rebounders in NBA history. Rodman won his first NBA rebounding title after accumulating 1530 rebounds during the regular season, an astonishing mark of 18,7 rebounds per game.
Making NBA history
At the time, Rodman was already known around the league as a great defender who could cover multiple positions and an excellent rebounder for his size, but what he did during the 1991/92 season is nothing short of historic.
To put things into perspective, those were the best rebounding marks in the NBA ever since Wilt Chamberlain’s 1971/72 season when he averaged 19.2 rebounds per game. Wilt grabbed 1572 rebounds that season, and Rodman came close to matching those numbers that Wilt put up exactly 20 years before Rodman.
Dennis had a solid rebounding season the year before when he averaged over 12 rebounds per game, but at the age of 30, he found the energy and the knowledge to become the best rebounder in the league. During that historic season, Rodman grabbed 42.1 percent of all Piston’s rebounds, which is still to this day the best individual percentage in NBA history. Rodman had multiple games during that season where he was getting over 20 rebounds per game, displaying incredible tenacity and will to outplay every big guy on the court.
The best-undersized rebounder of all-time
That season presented a turning point in Rodman’s career regarding his dominance in rebounding as he led the NBA in that category for seven straight seasons. Rodman averaged over 15 rebounds per game up to the 1998/99 season when he started playing for the Los Angeles Lakers when it was evident he could no longer maintain that type of rhythm of playing.
Rodman retired the following season after playing in only 12 games for the Dallas Mavericks, wherein in his limited minutes, he still averaged over 14 rebounds per game. Nobody after Rodman was so dominant in rebounding, especially when you consider he was only 6’7″ and around 220 pounds. There were a lot of players who had the physical ability to be as dominant as Rodman. Still, nobody had that type of incredible energy and pure desire to snatch every possible rebound while disrupting the game by sometimes not even scoring a single point but doing other things exceptionally well.