Dennis Rodman and the San Antonio Spurs almost captured an NBA title together but the Worm thinks it’s a blessing that they came up short
He’s better known for his time with the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons but Dennis Rodman spent two years with the San Antonio Spurs between 1993-95. His time in San Antonio was erratic and full of disruptions but he was still able to find success with the team.
The Spurs acquired the NBA’s most prolific rebounder in a deal that sent Sean Eliot and draft picks to Detroit. They had hoped that adding Rodman to a core that had David Robinson and Dale Ellis would bring the defensive and rebounding edge that the team needed.
San Antonio’s GM at the time, Bob Bass, told Chris Baker of the Los Angeles Times that other teams across the league thought that the team was “marshmallow soft.” Whatever Rodman had been accused of being, and he was called a lot of things, “soft” was never one of them. He brought the edge that the Spurs needed.
His presence helped the Spurs advance to the 1995 Western Conference where they faced off against the Hakeem Olajuwon led Houston Rockets. The combination of Rodman and Robinson, while impressive, was not enough to carry San Antonio past the reigning MVP. And, according to Rodman, that wasn’t such a bad thing.
Shortly after the “30 for 30” on him came out, Rodman sat down with Bryan Alexander of USA Today for a wide-ranging interview that covered his time in San Antonio amongst other things. One of the things they talked about was the silver lining of the Spurs never capturing a title while Rodman was there.
“I’m thinking to myself, thank God we didn’t win a championship in San Antonio. I thank my lucky stars. Because If I would have won a championship with San Antonio, I still would have been there. I never would have made it to the Chicago Bulls, and Chicago wouldn’t have won those three championships. So it’s a blessing in disguise.”
It’s an interesting hypothetical, what would have happened if Robinson and Rodman had been able to win a title together? Would the Spurs still have traded Rodman to Chicago for a “nobody”? Honestly, I think they would have.
Later in the interview with USA Today, Rodman went into his relationship with Robinson. He said that while the two were able to play together, they didn’t communicate well and Robinson “didn’t know what to make” of Rodman.
It’s not all that surprising that straight edge, god-fearing, military man David Robinson would not coexist the best with the, shall we say, eccentric Rodman. I mean, Robinson was engaging with local teens in San Antonio to talk about his faith while Rodman was dating Madonna. Not saying that those two things would have prevented the two from coexisting they’re on different wavelengths.
Ultimately Rodman’s relationship with the Spurs front office fell apart, much like his relationship with the Pistons front office did. Off the court issues and erratic behavior led to the Spurs throwing up their hands in frustration and sending Rodman to the Bulls. The rest is history.
It worked out well for both parties. Rodman would go on to win multiple titles with Michael Jordan and the Bulls and the Spurs would draft Tim Duncan shortly after he left, kickstarting the historic run of consecutive playoff appearances that still exists today.
It would have been fascinating to see how the fates of Rodman, Robinson, and the Spurs would have changed if the Worm had stayed in San Antonio but looking back we can say that the split was for the best.