1996: Gary Payton & Dennis Rodman jaw during Game 1 of the 1996 NBA Finals at the United Center on June 5, 1996 in Chicago, Illinois.
(Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Dennis Rodman was reunited with his father last night after 42 years of separation.
Philander Rodman, Dennis’ dad, has fathered 29 children by 16 different women. Like Rodman, he loved to score on rebounds.
In 2000, just two years removed from having won three consecutive titles with the Chicago Bulls, Dennis Rodman was a 38 year old power forward looking for a job.
On February 3 of that year, he signed with the Dallas Mavericks. His entire stint with the team lasted all of 12 games and spanning a month in total.
Rodman’s debut with the team drew the highest local ratings for a Mavericks telecast since 1994.
In his second game with the Mavericks, Rodman had 6 points, 16 rebounds and 4 assists against the Milwaukee Bucks1, but was ejected from the game for demonstratively arguing a foul call against him.
After the game, he directed a few shots at commissioner David Stern: “I wish me and David Stern could put some damn gloves on and go in the ring. We’ll see who comes out the winner.”
The Mavericks, who had won 10 of their last 13 games prior to signing Rodman, were entertaining hopes of making the playoffs. But they kept losing with The Worm, and he kept losing it himself.
After a blowout loss to Sacramento, Rodman’s disruptive side took over as he criticized his teammates and the organization as a whole: “We’re like that movie Lost in Space. We have no sense of direction. We’re lost. There’s not much else to say. We really need some players to fill in the holes we have here. We need a backup center, a starting center, a true power forward, a couple of guards. Above all, we need some more veterans to come in here and provide some leadership. If we don’t get that, then this team is always going to be on the bottom. And I won’t stay on a team that’s always at the bottom. I’ve been on the top too many years to do that.”
The final straw came the next night, when he directed his anger towards Cuban, who allowed Rodman to stay at his guest house when he first arrived in Dallas: “He doesn’t need to be hanging around the players like he’s a coach or something. That’s like Jerry Jones, and it’s dumb. That’s why the Cowboys went down. He needs to be the owner, step back and put people in who can get this team in the right direction.”
The next morning, Rodman was released by the Mavericks.
It would turn out to be his last stint in the NBA.
1 You can watch highlights of that game here. It’s funny to see a young Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash on the court with Rodman, and also fascinating how effective Rodman still was on defense and on the boards.