Dennis Rodman ‘Lost His Sh*t’ When His Father Figure Suddenly Chose to Walk Out of His Life in 1992: “It Won’t Feel Like Home”

Published 01/01/2023, 3:15 PM EST

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The Bad Boy Pistons, led by Coach Chuck Daly, focused on playing rough and aggressively physical basketball while forming an unbreakable defensive attack. They dominated the league through the late 80s and bagged two back-to-back NBA championship titles. However, as history shows, the concept of domination doesn’t last forever. The same applied to the Detroit Pistons. Their glorious run of playing the game ruthlessly began to fizzle out as the 90s approached. Players like John Salley were traded off and Chuck Daly resigned. While the world tried to wrap its head around the shift in gears, Dennis Rodman, a Bad-Boy Piston himself, was left shattered by this rapid change.

Dennis Rodman spent his formative years with the Detroit Pistons. During this time, the five-time NBA Champion developed a close connection with coach Chuck Daly. He once said, “I just think that he let me just be a man more than anything, you know”. This elevated Rodman’s lifestyle on and off the court. Their relationship reached a point where in the eyes of Rodman, Daly was like a father figure. Rodman’s life took a turn when change ensued in the Pistons organization and Daly left.


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Dennis Rodman on Chuck Daly’s resignation

In 2019, ESPN’s ‘30 for 30: Rodman: For Better or Worse documentary covered the life of Dennis Rodman. During a segment of the show, the narrative focused on the end of the Pistons era. Rodman’s teammate and member of the Bad Boy Pistons, John Salley spoke about Rodman’s state of mind after the team began to dismantle.

He said, “I get traded and Chuck Daly left, and Dennis loses his shit man.” Salley, who Rodman shared a close bond with, was traded to the Miami Heat. Following this, Chuck Daly decided to call it a day. Daly believed that the team needed a new voice and left with no remorse or bitter feelings.


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For Rodman, his entire life changed after that. Daly’s decision to leave bothered Rodman. Furthermore, he felt like he was losing a person that he loved dearly. In an interview from back in the day, the Worm said, “I can’t see Chuck Daly leaving the Detroit Pistons and me staying here and playing basketball. It won’t feel right. It won’t feel like home.”

After this very moment, as Salley stated, Rodman realized that the league and the game was essentially a business. Following Daly’s departure, the two-time defensive player of the year spent one more season with the Pistons before making his way to the San Antonio Spurs. Rodman’s move was the last straw that broke the camel’s back as the Bad Boy Pistons era had officially come to an end.


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Incidentally, Rodman grew up in the absence of a father-figure in his life. Therefore, he gravitated so much towards Daly’s mentorship and coaching because the veteran coach was like a father-figure to Rodman. However, with Daly leaving the Pistons, Rodman felt like his father has left him once again.

Watch This Story: Ten things Chicago Bulls Legend Dennis Rodman can’t live without


Written by:

Shriya Rajachandra


One take at a time

Shriya Rajachandra is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. She earned a bachelor's degree in Journalism, Psychology, and Communicative English. Shriya previously interned at The New Indian Express, but her favorite journalist, Marcus Thompson motivated her to start writing about basketball.
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Edited by:

Satagni Sikder