Dennis Rodman Once Revealed the “Four Wise Men” Who Played the Role of His Father in His Life

Published 11/13/2022, 9:30 AM EST

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Dennis Rodman became the best rebounder in the history of the NBA and a Chicago Bulls legend but not before having a very tumultuous childhood. One can now say that Rodman sure made the best of it to went on to have such a decorated career in the NBA. With an absent father throughout his life, Rodman once revealed the men who played the role of a father figure in his life. 

The Worm mentioned four men who played that role in his life in his book I should be dead by now. He refers to these men as the ‘four wise men.’ The four men were Chuck Daly, Phil Jackson, Jerry Buss, and James Rich. Rodman shared an intimate bond with all these four men.


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He mentioned how these men guided him where he needed guidance and we’re always there for him. 

Father figures in the life of Dennis Rodman

James Rich was the head of the family in Oklahoma where Dennis Rodman had lived during his college years when he was homeless. Rodman had formed an unlikely friendship with his son, Byrne Rich 13 when Rodman was 22 years old.

The two helped each other battle their personal demons and Rodman became a part of the family. The Rich family treated him as their own son and would come down as hard as they’d come down on their own son when Rodman would get into any trouble or mishaps.


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The five-time NBA champion then went on to get drafted by the Detroit Pistons and where Chuck Daly was the head coach. Daly saw the potential in Rodman and helped him develop on and off the court. He became another father figure in Rodman’s life. The two won two straight titles with the Pistons.

Rodman was devastated when Daly resigned from the Pistons in 92. He said, “I feel really, really bothered by this. He shouldn’t be gone. Losing a basketball game is not as important as losing the person you love and care about.”

Then he was traded to the Chicago Bulls. That’s where he met another father figure in Bulls’ head coach Phil Jackson. Jackson quickly realized that Rodman wasn’t a horse you could saddle. The two eventually formed a bond which resulted in three straight NBA championships.


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And lastly, Jerry Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers. Rodman got close with Jerry during his twilight years with the Lakers even though it was a very short stint. The current team owner Jeanie Buss once revealed how much her father’s death affected Rodman.


Written by:

Abhishek Dhariwal


One take at a time

Abhishek Dhariwal is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He earned his bachelor's degree in English Honors from St. Xavier's College and his master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from AAFT School of Mass Communication and Journalism.
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Edited by:

Bagavathi Eswaran