Behind Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, the Chicago Bulls won the 1996 Championship against the Seattle SuperSonics in six games, closing a historic season. They went 72-10 in the regular season, which at the time was the best record in NBA history.
Several pundits did not believe the Bulls would win the championship in 1996 due to the polarizing decision they made before the start of the season. Rodman was acquired from the San Antonio Spurs, and it was a profession that has not been rated well by critics and some Chicago fans since the Worm misbehaved with the Spurs and was part of the most hated team in Bulls history, the “Bad Boys”.
However, Rodman was instrumental in helping the Bulls win 72 games and defeat the SuperSonics, and he made sure to call out his enemies.
Dennis Rodman was proud to do his job
After the Bulls defeated the SuperSonics in Game 6 of the ’96 Finals, Rodman called out his critics perfectly for doubting he could help Jordan and Pippen win a title.
“Everyone thought I was going to come and tear this organization apart,” Rodman said. “There is a lot about me that people don’t know. I am a competitor. I stepped up and got the job done, and I’m proud of it.
Rodman was such a force on the boards in the ’96 final that SuperSonics head coach George Karl hinted Rodzilla could have won the final MVP title against Jordan: They have extra possessions and additional opportunities.
Against the SuperSonics, Rodman averaged 7.5 points and 14.7 rebounds. He took 11 offensive rebounds in Games 2 and 6 and 20 overall in Game 2. It was the same type of production Rodman had during the regular season as the Bulls won 72 games.
Dennis Rodman led the NBA in rebounds per game in 1995-96
Rodman appeared in 64 games during the Bulls’ 72-10 season. He averaged 5.5 points and 14.9 rebounds while shooting 48.0 percent from the field. The two-time defensive player of the year has led the NBA in rebounds per game, a feat he has accomplished seven times in his career.
Several Bulls fans and reporters feared Rodman might not get along with Jordan and Pippen since he was one of the Detroit Pistons who played badly against Chicago. However, Dennis the Menace fits in perfectly with MJ and Pip. In fact, Jordan called Rodman one of the smartest players he’s ever played with in The last dance docuseries, while Pippen said the rebound machine played its part perfectly and knew how to impact victory.
Rodman’s three-year run with the Bulls was historic. Although he was not on an all-star team while playing in Chicago, he added other accomplishments to his resume.
Demolition Man won three rebounding titles and three championships with the Bulls
Rodman played 199 games with the Bulls. He averages 5.2 points and 15.3 rebounds and is the franchise leader in rebounds per game. The Hall of Famer won three rebounding titles and three championships alongside Jordan and Pippen.
The Bulls have not removed Rodman’s No.91 jersey. It’s surprising since he’s won three rings and is the best rebounder in franchise history. It will be interesting to see if President Jerry Reinsdorf ever decides to honor Rodman and put his jersey in the rafters of the United Center alongside Jordan and Pippen.
Rodman ended his NBA career averaging 7.3 points and 13.1 rebounds. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011 and is arguably one of the greatest rebounders of all time. The New Jersey native is 12th in NBA history for rebounds per game.
Statistics courtesy of Basket-Reference.
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