There are two lists that Dennis Rodman makes it on and is one of the first to be on, the best defenders and rebounders in NBA history and the wildest star in NBA history. Rodman was as eccentric as they come, he married himself and left the team midseason to go and party to blow off some steam, there was no telling what Dennis would do next. And it was his great play and hustle which ensured that the greatest coach and player of all time put up with him anyway.
Rodman was an absolute unit as a defender, he had the athleticism to stay with quicker guards and the heart to battle with bigger centers. His pure hustle plays and his knack for knowing where the ball would go next made him a genuine joy to watch on the court. And many figured that considering how wild his personality was and how committed he was to the game, that Rodman must have been an elite sh*t-talker.
However, Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins, who played in that era and had many battles against the Pistons and the Bulls, has revealed that Rodman wasn't all that big on the trash talk.
“Dennis wasn’t much of a talker as much as he was like a pest,” Dominique Wilkins said of Rodman during an NBA 75 Stories segment. “He would try to get in your head and do stuff to try to get you out of your game. That was his strong suit.”
Rodman himself knew exactly what he was doing, it was a very deliberate effort from him to get into his opponent's heads. He spoke about it himself, explaining that when people tried to get to him, they weren't going to achieve much since they were only messing with the master.
“All they doing now is trying to mess with me,” the forward explained in a postgame interview. “Try to get in my head. They don’t understand, though, you can’t mess with the master. You can’t mess with the master.”
Throughout his career, Rodman averaged over 13 rebounds per game, a staggering number considering his height. But it was his intensity and tenacity that allowed him to dominate in the way he did, holding his own against greats from that era like Wilkins himself. And while there have been other defenders that have been uniquely great since, there's never really been anyone else quite like Dennis Rodman.