During the 1997-98 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls competed for their sixth NBA title and their second three-peat. ‘The Last Dance’ as Phil Jackson famously called it, started with Scottie Pippen missing the first 35 regular-season games, and MJ, who was 34 at the time, needed all the help he could get.
Scottie had a ruptured tendon in his ankle and decided to prolong his surgery because of a disagreement with the Bulls front office. He finally decided to fix his ankle, but he missed nearly half of the season and came back in January of ’98.
Several players had to pick up in Scottie’s absence, and one of them was definitely Dennis Rodman, aka ‘The Worm”. Dennis always knew his role. He was primarily a defensive specialist with several awards to his name. Until that point, he was a four-time NBA champion, two-time All-Star, two-time defensive player of the year, and led the league and rebounds six times.
Rodman was always a controversial player in the league, primarily because of his wild lifestyle off the court. In January of 1998, after Pippen finally returned to the team, Dennis decided that he needs a vacation, a break from the game — and Phil Jackson, the great psychologist he is, gave Dennis a 48-hour free pass.
That’s when inner Dennis came to life.
His next stop was Las Vegas. He decided to bring along his girlfriend at the time, Carmen Electra. The two were partying like crazy and enjoying lavish dinners on the Las Vegas Strip.
“One thing about Dennis, he had to escape.”Carmen Electra
The two were enjoying each other as well. As a matter of fact, they were having such a great time that Dennis forgot about the 48 hours Phil had given to him. He stayed in Vegas for another three days. Then, out of the blue, Michael Jordan knocked on the hotel room door to get Dennis back to Chicago.
Carmen Electra went on record saying that she hid behind the couch when Michael showed up, and that was the end of their Vegas fairy tale.
The rest is history. Rodman didn’t miss another game for the rest of the season until the bulls famously won their sixth championship and completed their second three-peat.
It turns out Michael Jordan was never upset with Dennis. Here’s what he said about the incident.
“He needed to get away, but in all honesty, Dennis was always there, he was always on point.”Michael Jordan