“Didn’t Feel Like Playing Golf… He Was Near Death”: Dennis Rodman Was a Pain in Michael Jordan’s Behind Before Eventually Becoming His Teammate

Published 12/30/2022, 2:59 PM EST

via Getty

Dennis Rodman and Michael Jordan were part of the mesmerizing Chicago Bulls which took the NBA world by storm. But before they were together, Rodman was a part of the Bulls’ biggest rivals, the Detroit Pistons. As NBA fans are well aware, MJ despised the Detroit side. They were one of the biggest thorns on his way to the NBA title, as was proved in the 1990 Eastern Conference Finals. According to the book Jordan Rules, Jordan didn’t even feel like playing golf after his exhausting battle with the Detroit side that year, which suggested that something sinister was taking place.

MJ was double-teamed by Rodman and John Salley, which ultimately broke down His Airness. The Chicago Bulls. No. 23 couldn’t handle the exhausting game 1 of the 1990 EC Finals, which would probably be his motivation for improving his physical condition in the future.

Rodman’s tough gameplay pushed Michael Jordan to the brink of physical exhaustion


Article continues below this ad

In his book The Jordan Rules, popular author Sam Smith mentioned the struggles the Bulls squad faced in 1990 and how Game 1 visibly changed MJ. His Airness was tired to a point that he didn’t even want to play golf, which is his favorite pastime outside the basketball court.

“The city of Chicago was awash in spring-all two hours of it, as the old-time residents like to say but Jordan wasn’t feeling very sunny.” Smith wrote. He further added, “He didn’t even feel like playing golf, which friends would say meant he was near death.” 

Jordan was aching all over, and probably felt physically broken. According to the book, his back, hip, shoulder, wrist, and thigh all hurt because Dennis Rodman and John Salley double-teamed himRodman’s imposing figure caused huge problems for everyone in the game, including his future teammate and one of the greatest in the game.

It was a surprise to many at the time that Jordan was able to play the next game. But years later, after people came to know about MJ’s tenacity, it wasn’t something unusual anymore.

MJ and his battles with the Detroit Pistons have been legendary. His Airness made sure that at the turn of the decade the battle wasn’t one-sided anymore.


Article continues below this ad

Jordan’s ultimate victory against the Detroit Pistons in 1991

After years of struggle to reach an NBA Final, 1991 was the defining year in Jordan’s career. The Chicago Bulls swept the Detroit Pistons 4-0 in the 1991 EC Finals. The Pistons refused to acknowledge their loss as they walked off without shaking hands with the Bulls squad after the game.

Watch This Story: Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Charles Barkley and other NBA stars who have endorsed video games


Article continues below this ad

Jordan once mentioned how he felt “pumped up” after the infamous ‘handshake snub’ by the Pistons. The Detroit side couldn’t quite digest the beating they got against the Bulls.




Shankha Shuvra Das

444 articles

Shankha Shuvra Das is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He holds a Bachelor's and a Master's degree in Economics and has extensive experience in freelance content creation, especially in the field of technology. Shankha's passion for covering the sport of basketball stems from his love for the NBA, which he has been following closely for several years now.

Edited By: Satagni Sikder