Skip to main content

The Australian scrub who elbowed Dennis Rodman reminisces his life lesson from that night

Dennis Rodman Scott Anstey

Australian Chris Anstey opens up about that faithful night

In descending order of athletes that if I was forced to fight, I would shrivel down to the cradle position the fastest, Dennis Rodman leads the pack, followed by O.J, Bernard King, and Blake Griffin in that KIA commercial. So what logical reason would someone have to bait Rodzilla at a time he was leaving basketball to join NWO and party in Las Vegas? Australian Chris Anstey opens up about that faithful night on Code.

Nothing like playing Michael in ‘98

According to Anstey, playing against the 90’s Bulls, led by the player “who transcended basketball,” was more than a big deal. As Anstey describes that “in some way, I hoped we would get blown-out and I would get some junk minutes near the end of the game before Jordan got substituted out. Certainly not my finest thought, but logical”.

It wouldn’t be until the second half that the unproven rookie would step in, as Mavericks head coach Don Nelson told him, ‘you’ve got Rodman. Niggle him on the glass, get your fingers on rebounds and passes, use your length to trap Jordan if he catches it in the post’. This didn’t make Anstey's nerves fade a fraction, especially after the great Michael Jordan fouled him in front of his entire family and friends in the stands. 

To this day, Anstey contends that he “had never been so nervous walking to the free-throw line and my first shot revealed my anxiety. It was a brick. A brick!”. However, the statistics later indicated that he was not the only nervous Maverick out there. The entire team, up to that point, was 1-11 from the free-throw line. But as Anstey and the hundreds of other players could attest to, “that was the impact the Bulls’ aura held. Every second felt like it was high pressure”. 

Oh oh, not Rodman

The struggling Mavericks went down as far as 17 points, putting more pressure to change rotations and gamble Anstey on Rodman. But the rookie never took that moment for granted. 

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

“Dennis Rodman and I had been niggling each other all night. Well, I had been niggling, he had been rebounding and playing in his typically physical manner, recalled Anstey. “He was so tough to guard. He did not even look for his own shot, but he never stopped moving, screening, and working for rebounding position”, he followed. 

During their tussle for position down low, the refs called a foul on Rodman, but as Anstey puts it, “I still had my elbows raised to protect the ball, and I pivoted. Hard. I knew where his head was. I wanted him to know I knew. I swung my elbow, and stopped, right at his ear”. 

Except that there was contact made, just not enough to rock The Worm. Mixed that with a growing Mavericks comeback - up four with 1:28 to go, Anstey beginning to chirp up at the unhinged Hall of Famer - Rodman had enough. Anstey recollected that Rodman “wanted to suck me into an unsportsmanlike foul. I laughed. Smiled right in his face. How stupid do you think I am? We were both hit with a technical foul. No harm”. 

A moment to cherish

The Mavericks won the game after a costly 5-second violation from Scottie Pippen. Not many players could say they were on the floor and beat the greatest. Anstey speaks of it like it was yesterday, “we had just beaten the Chicago Bulls. I had just played in a game of basketball that Michael Jordan had also played in. And won!... Our win-loss record to finish the 1997-98 season was 20-62. The Bulls would finish their regular season at 62-20 and go on to win their sixth NBA Championship”, but that wouldn’t matter on that late March night. 

Anstey worked his whole life to tell a story that he believes serves as great motivation. For “as long as the ‘one’ exists in ‘one in a million’, what is to say it can’t happen on the first time? Or the next time? What if we allow ourselves to be naive enough to believe that there is always a chance? Then there is always a chance… I got the type of moment that comes at a time we least expect. If we are willing to do the work”, said Anstey. 

No one can ever take that away from him. 

Isiah Thomas criticism of Chris Paul still stands

Isiah Thomas’ past criticisms of Chris Paul still rings true: "He has to push past safe"

Isiah Thomas claimed Chris Paul was playing too safe to maintain his good stats. The Hall of Famer wanted CP3 to take some risks to win games.

matt-barnes-chris-paul-pat-beverly-min

Matt Barnes calls Patrick Beverly a clown for the Chris Paul slander: "You're not that guy"

Barnes went in on Pat Bev: "Chris Paul played terrible this series and his numbers are still better than your career numbers have ever been."

Patrick Beverley wouldn't mind joining LeBron James and the Lakers

Patrick Beverley on playing with the Los Angeles Lakers if he had the chance: “I wouldn’t even hesitate”

Patrick Beverley admitted that there's nothing like playing for the Lakers franchise

JJ Redick explains why Eric Gordon could've helped Phoenix Suns in the playoffs

JJ Redick explains why Eric Gordon could've helped Phoenix Suns in the playoffs

The Phoenix Suns fans wanted Eric Gordon but the front office panned their wishes.

LeBron James names three players he'd team up with in a 2v2 vs Jordan and Pippen

LeBron James names three players he'd team in a 2v2 vs Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen

History showcases LeBron knows how to adjust his role to accommodate his teammates.

Damian Lillard defends Chris Paul from Pat Beverley’s attacks

Damian Lillard defends Chris Paul from Pat Beverley’s attacks: What CP do to you?

Since the Suns went down in Game 7, Patrick Beverley has attacked Chris Paul for his poor performance. Damian Lillard chimed in and defended CP3.

Doncic dominated the Suns in a way no player ever has in the postseason

Luka Doncic dominated the Phoenix Suns in a way no player ever has in the NBA postseason

Doncic beat the Suns top players in their best skill, showcasing how talented he is despite being just 23 years old.

How Ime Udoka’s confidence in the Boston Celtics role players helped them beat the Milwaukee Bucks

"I told him let it fly” - How Ime Udoka’s confidence in the Boston Celtics role players helped them beat the Milwaukee Bucks

Udoka never lost faith in any of his players, and his encouragement to Grant Williams ended up being the difference in the series between the Celtics and Bucks