Dennis Rodman: One of the Greatest Players Who Ever Lived
He grew up in Oak Cliff . He played basketball at South Oak Cliff High School. He once worked as a janitor at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. And he finished his stellar National Basketball Association career as a Dallas Maverick.
Still, don't look for the Mavs to figure prominently when Dennis Rodman is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., in August. Rodman's selection to the Class of 2011 was announced today.
Rodman was signed by the Mavericks on Feb. 3, 2000, in one of the first moves by new owner Mark Cuban, who was trying to energize his hapless team. (In fact, Cuban hadn't yet been formally approved by the league.)
Rodman, 38, had been out of basketball for more than a year. The Los Angeles Lakers cut him the previous season for violating team rules.
When the Mavs picked him up, they'd just won 10 of the previous 13 games, an impressive feat for a roster that included the likes of Bruno Sundov, Gary Trent, and Obinna Ekezie.
Cuban thought Rodman, even in his 14th season, could help Dallas make the playoffs.
Cuban was wrong.
Rodman was cut on March 8, barely a month after his signing. He was a Maverick for 13 games. The team won four of those. Rodman pulled down 14.3 rebounds a game for Dallas --well above his Hall of Fame career average of 13.1 -- but he was otherwise not a factor. He was thrown out of two games and suspended from one.
Cuban said he let Rodman go once it became apparent that the Mavericks weren't going to make the playoffs after all. The owner denied that angry comments Rodman made after a frustrating loss -- when he said the owner needed to remember his place -- had anything to do with the decision.
Here, from our archives, is a brief oral history of the Worm's turn in Dallas:
Feb. 3, 2000: After word of the signing leaks out, Rodman is spotted as a limousine drops him off at the Baylor Tom Landry Fitness Center for a physical.
"I feel like [expletive]," he says. "All this working out is tough."
Feb. 4: "I'm happy to say that the Dallas Mavericks and I have agreed to terms," he says in a written statement. "I know that I can bring a lot of intensity and tough defense to the Mavericks. I'm really excited about being back in the game. But most important, I'm happy to be playing for a team where they'll let Dennis be Dennis."
Derek Harper, the former Mavs great who is by then the team's vice president of business relations, says: "I think Dennis is at the stage in his career where he's going to surprise people and set the right example."
Feb. 7: Rodman is asked about his upcoming debut in a Dallas uniform, scheduled for Feb. 9, a Wednesday.
"I thought the game was on Tuesday, to tell you the truth," he says.
Feb. 8: "I've always loved being in Dallas," he says. "People here are very warm, very gracious, very open about the people they love. ... It's a great opportunity to give the people of Dallas some excitement."
Feb. 9: In Rodman's debut, the Mavericks lose to the Seattle SuperSonics, 117-106.