‘Phil Jackson said I was his favorite player to coach Michael Jordan but I don’t know why’: Dennis Rodman was flabbergasted that his Bulls coach chose him over ‘GOAT’
Dennis Rodman once revealed that he never understood why Phil Jackson said Rodman was his favorite player to coach.
After losing to Shaquille O’Neal and his Orlando Magic in the 1995 ECSF, Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls knew they needed to strengthen two aspects of their team: defense and rebounding. This is where Dennis Rodman of the San Antonio Spurs comes in.
He was coming off an excellent All-NBA season with the Spurs in 1995 and was contacted by the Bulls to see if he would fit into their rather tame roster. Bringing in Rodman would ruin every bit of chemistry the Bulls had built up to that point or he would prove to be the ultimate wild card. Fortunately for them, the latter took shape.
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A lot had to happen before Rodman earned his usual $2.5 million from Chicago instead of San Antonio. First, he had to apologize to Scottie Pippen and should get Pippen to accept his apology. Second, and most importantly, Phil Jackson had to reassure Jerry Krause and Bulls management that he could handle Dennis Rodman and his eccentricity.
Fast forward three years and it’s safe to say that Jackson did just that by hoisting the Larry O’Brien three more times.
Phil Jackson on Dennis Rodman and how it shocked him.
Dennis Rodman had a flair for the dramatic and yet he didn’t let it obscure what he really wanted to do and that was win a championship. Sure, he needed days to recharge in Las Vegas and would show up in a wedding dress ready to get married, but at the end of the day, locking up the opposing team’s best offensive player and grabbing 17 boards per night was obvious to him.
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In a sit-down interview years after his retirement, Rodman opened up about Phil Jackson, the man who coached him for three years on the Bulls. He would go on to reference when Jackson chose “The Worm” over Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant or even Shaquille O’Neal as his favorite player to coach.
Tex Winter, the mastermind behind the triangle attack, also said that Dennis was also his favorite player to coach. Seems like with all of his quirky habits, when it comes to things on NBA hardwood, no one understood the game better than Rodman.