In a recent interview, San Antonio Spurs legend David Robinson praised Dennis Rodman as a person but made note of his negative impact on their team.
Back when the San Antonio Spurs paired franchise star David Robinson with the controversial Dennis Rodman, their hopes were set high. Each of these players had established themselves as dominant interior forces at the professional ranks and would combine to create the most intimidating frontcourt combination in the sport, or so they thought.
The pairing ultimately didn’t work out because of their conflicting morals and approaches to the sport. Robinson was the moral compass of the team, focusing his attention on his body, health, military roots and God at the height of his powers. Rodman, on the other hand, was more interested in the fame and transgressions that come with the status of a professional athlete.
After playing together for two short years in between Rodman’s time with the Pistons and the Chicago Bulls, Robinson got to witness the Dennis Rodman experience up close and personal. In a recent interview with Jason Goff of the Bulls Talk Podcast, Robinson went into detail about his relationship with Rodman and what it was like to be the leader of a young team alongside each other.
David Robinson says Dennis Rodman was a great guy but hurt San Antonio Spurs
“Dennis is a complicated guy. I think because of his background, he doesn’t always know how to express himself.
“He’s an easy guy to like because he has a good heart,” Robinson said. “He wants to play hard – he wants to do the right things, but as far as a team goes, he was so destructive to a team perspective.
“There was nothing you could do to make him get out of his comfort zone.”
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It’s clear that Rodman and Robinson were like oil and water; unable to fulfill each other’s needs and coexist in a way that bred a winning product. They played relatively well alongside each other, but Robinson needed someone that was more of a leader than Rodman was willing to be. As we see now in The Last Dance documentary series, Rodman needed a team that was okay with him going through his motions instead of him adapting to their way of operating.
Some might call it selfish, others might call it his way of life. One thing that’s for certain is that everyone has an opinion about Dennis Rodman and many of those viewpoints tend to be different.
Rodman’s time in San Antonio wasn’t all bad as he set the franchise record for the most rebounds in a single game against the Dallas Mavericks. He didn’t do enough to get remembered as fondly as other Spurs greats but he made enough noise to get remembered. Now, his time in the River City makes for a cool retro jersey and some interesting memories for longtime fans.
Recently, Rodman referred to his trade from San Antonio as him getting moved for “nobody,” which was backup center Will Perdue. However, it was a culture-preserving trade that the Spurs wouldn’t take back for anything considering they went on to get the No. 1 pick in 1997, giving them a franchise star of Tim Duncan.
Like Robinson said: “Nobody’s crying here in San Antonio, so it worked out very well.”