Though his time as a member of the San Antonio Spurs was shortlived, iconic big man Dennis Rodman made the most of it by setting many records.
Few professional athletes are as notorious away from the game as former San Antonio Spurs power forward Dennis Rodman. Remembered by many for his colorful hair, explosive demeanor and irrepressible presence on the glass, Rodman left his mark on every team he played for.
Even though his time playing second-fiddle to Spurs legend David Robinson was brief, the infamous Rodman made history while donning the silver and black by grabbing the fourth-most rebounds ever snagged in a single game in NBA history, tying himself in the process.
By this point in the 1993-94 season, the rival Dallas Mavericks had only won two of their 38 regular-season games. They finished with the worst record in the NBA, winning only 13 games and earning the second overall pick, which landed them a franchise point guard in Jason Kidd.
That’s beside the point though, because on January 22, 1994, San Antonio played host to their lowly rivals boasting a respectable 27-14 record. Led by a future Hall of Famer in Robinson at the height of his basketball stardom, San Antonio was becoming somewhat of a hot commodity with the one-two punch of Robinson and Rodman dominating the interior as veteran wing Dale Ellis took perimeter jumpers and leveled the team’s scoring.
Rodman hadn’t dipped below double-digit rebounds in more than two months and averaged 17.6 boards in his previous five games. Dallas ranked 20th in rebounds per game that year with their lead man on the glass being 6-foot-8 forward Popeye Jones, who averaged 7.5 boards per game.
The Spurs’ blistering defensive lineups shined against the Mavericks, holding them to 21 points or fewer in three-quarters of play before giving up 26 in the fourth. They held the Mavericks to 83 points total on 36.6 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from three while missing seven of their free-throw attempts, giving Rodman more of an opportunity to destroy them on the glass.
He finished with a grand total of 32 rebounds, which is a feat only four other players in NBA history have achieved.
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Dallas grabbed 18 defensive rebounds in the contest while Rodman snagged 23 of his own. The Worm, as he was so lovingly nicknamed back in the day, accounted for 61.5 percent of the Spurs’ rebounds and roughly 36 percent of the total rebounds in the game.
One stat you won’t likely see on a box score again was Rodman’s insane 40.1 percent rebound percentage including a 48.4 percent defensive rebound percentage.
The only player in the modern era of basketball who’s remotely skilled enough as a rebounder to pull this off is Cleveland Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, who’s on pace to be one of the game’s all-time bests in the stat category. However, he’ll continue to chase after Rodman, who easily holds the spot in the minds of Spurs fans and others.
Only one player who’s still active in the NBA has even touched 30 boards: Cleveland power forward Kevin Love who was one-short of Rodman with 31 in a game back in 2010.
Rodman’s legacy in the NBA is one of ferocity, hard work and punishing physicality. He’ll always have the attention and admiration of basketball fans around the world.