Feb 20, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Dennis Rodman (left) and Michael Jordan (right) at halftime during the 2022 NBA All-Star Game at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
After completing a three-peat in 1993, Michael Jordan decided to switch things up by putting an end to his basketball career and trying his luck at Minor League Baseball. Upon his return to the Chicago Bulls in 1995, the Orlando Magic would eliminate them in the second round. That very offseason, Jerry Krause, upon the advice of MJ, added Dennis Rodman to the roster. The All-Star trio of MJ, Scottie Pippen, and Rodman led the Illinois-based franchise to win 3 consecutive championships from 1996-1999. Despite being the best rebounder of the 1990s, Dennis was shockingly snubbed by Jordan when asked to make his pick for the greatest rebounder ever. In the Cigar Aficionado’s interview with Marvin Shanken, His Airness instead picked a legend with a $5,000,000 net worth.
During the 1995 playoff battle between the Magic and the Bulls, Shaquille O’Neal and Horace Grant would dominate the paint for Orlando, collecting all the rebounds. Severely lacking a rebounding presence, Jordan and Phil Jackson suggested Rodman be acquired by the franchise, right after they lost.
With the Worm being an eccentric character, Mike and the Zen Master promised to handle Dennis’ tantrums. Despite all of Dennis the Menace’s off-court antics, the Bulls were the most dominant team in the association.
“No doubt it was Moses Malone”: Michael Jordan on the best rebounder
In the iconic Cigar Aficionado interview, during his conversation with Marvin Shanken, Air Jordan made his pick for the greatest rebounder of all time. Without hesitating, the Bulls legend picked Moses Malone.
Shanken: “Best rebounder?”
Jordan: “Moses [Malone]. No doubt it was Moses.”
Dennis averaged 13.1 rebounds throughout his 14-year career and won 7 rebounding titles. Whereas, Moses lodged 12.3 RPG while winning one less rebounding title than Rodman.
When we take a look at the stats, Dennis is clearly a better rebounder.
However, we have to consider Big Mo’s longevity while discussing the same. If we take a look at the first 14 seasons of Malone’s 21-year career, he recorded a staggering 13.7 rebounds per game himself, 0.6 more than Dennis.
Hence, it’s pretty evident why Jordan didn’t pick the 13-time All-Star, aside from his unhealthy relationship with Rodman.
MJ, Scottie, and Rodman never had a conversation during their time as teammates
Back in the mid-1990s, Phil Jackson’s boys were a force to reckon with. With Jordan, Pippen, and Rodman as teammates, the franchise won all 3 championships.
Being one of the most accomplished teams in the history of the game, the Bulls’ on-court chemistry was great. However, their bond, off the court, was not so great.
As Dennis would reveal, the 3 Hall-Of-Famers never had a conversation off the hardwood in the three years they spent as teammates.
“Me, Scottie, and Michael never had a conversation in three years in Chicago. Only time we had a conversation was on the court. That was it, and nobody believes that. I had a conversation with Jud Buechler, Randy Brown, Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, and other players. But, me, Michael, and Scottie, we never had conversations at all of the court .”
While they might not have been the best of friends, it didn’t matter to the front office given how successful the team was.