“He Was Radioactive”: Dennis Rodman Once Made a Career Altering Decision While Joining Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen at Bulls

Published 11/10/2022, 9:50 AM EST

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The Bulls-Pistons rivalry is one of those rivalries that every basketball fan has heard of once in their lifetime. The rivalry was so famous that it exploded in popularity in the late 80s. Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, and Scottie Pippen were all part of this rivalry. Among them, Dennis Rodman is the one who went on to play for both teams. He signed for the Chicago Bulls in 1995 after playing previously with the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons. However, there is a story regarding such a drastic decision of joining his rivals, the Chicago Bulls from the San Antonio Spurs. Sam Smith, the author of ‘Jordan Rules’ and his former agent, Dwight Manley, went on to reveal the reasons for his career-altering decision.

Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen gave an interview to ESPN in 2019. The interviewer asked how Rodman felt during his days with the Pistons. Rodman responded that he felt like family with Joe Dumars and his coach Chuck Daly.


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Rodman also stated that they meant to win the game by staying close and increasing their chemistry, just like a family. He went on to add that he viewed Chuck Daly as a father figure and also spent time with him every Christmas.

Career-altering decision of Dennis Rodman

In the midst of the interview, the interviewer played a clip from Rodman’s documentary “Rodman: For Better or Worse.” In the clip, Sam Smith and Dwight Manley described why Rodman joined the Bulls.


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San Antonio Spurs took the risk of signing Rodman knowing his off-the-court activities. Chuck Daly’s resignation from the position of coaching in 1992 seemed to ignite a change in Rodman. At that time, he wanted to go through a transformation and annoyed the Spurs in his first season. But the main problem started in the second season when he started to skip training and team events and even stopped playing during a game. Sam Smith revealed in the documentary saying, “He was radioactive” regarding Rodman’s off-the-court activities that almost destroyed his image in the league. All these activities of Rodman fuelled his transfer from the Spurs to the Bulls.

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Despite the bad reputation, another important reason for joining Bulls was that Rodman was broke at the time of joining the Bulls. He asked the Bulls’ leadership how much they could offer him. Dwight Manley explained in the documentary how going through a divorce and living his life out of his capacity made him go broke.


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However, the Bulls’ management took advantage of the opportunity and recruited Dennis Rodman to their team. With time, Rodman went on to win two championships with the Chicago Bulls along with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.


Written by:

Ayush Roy


One take at a time

Ayush Roy is an NBA writer at Essentially Sports. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Calcutta. Capitalizing his background in finance, Ayush likes to dive deep into the economics of the NBA.
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