Newly minted Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman recently spoke with David Aldridge of NBA.com about his career in the NBA which included his time with the San Antonio Spurs.
Rodman was traded from the Pistons to the Spurs in exchange for fan favorite Sean Elliott in 1993. And while there was no doubting what he brought to the court for San Antonio, behind the scenes, Rodman clashed with the Spurs’ front office including then Spurs GM Gregg Popovich, and even David Robinson who Rodman felt was not like the more physical centers of the time though he did admire David’s abilities on the court:
“(Robinson) used to say to me, ‘I need to talk to you about God.’ I would say, ‘Ohhkay.’ So we sat down one day at a restaurant and said, ‘I you’ll just understand that this is the type of city where people love to go to church, they’re very simple, they’re not very edgy,’ and the whole spiel. And I said, OK, great, cool. I said, ‘I can’t live that life. All I do is come here, I get paid to play basketball. I didn’t come here for people to like me; I come here to play basketball and win.’ I think that was one of the biggest problems with me and David, that we kind of bumped heads a lot. Not all negative, but I thought he could have been more aggressive in games, like (Hakeem) Olajuwon, like Shaquille O’Neal, other big men. David wasn’t really the physical type center.”
And it would seem Rodman rubbed the front off the wrong way as well. There was an incident where Rodman suffered a shoulder injury while riding a motorcyle, was suspended multiple times, which caused him and Popovich to clash as well:
“The only thing that wasn’t right was me and Popovich didn’t get along, because I wanted a new contract and he wouldn’t give me one. So, they decided to trade me for Will Perdue.”
Yet despite the ups and downs during his time with the Spurs, Rodman actually appreciates his time in San Antonio:
“I think San Antonio actually really prepared me mentally-wise,” he said. “I just said the hell with everyone. I’m just going to do my thing. I’m going to do my job.”
Let’s face it, Rodman wasn’t going to get along with two strong personalities like Robinson and Popovich. He was the oil to their water. Their polar opposite. Robinson was the preacher, Popovich was the military man, and Rodman was someone who didn’t care what anyone thought. This was your classic two worlds colliding situation. Of course this was going to happen.
However, the Spurs also had their points. Rodman antics off the court did affect the Spurs on the court. It also didn’t help he detached himself from the team thus causing team turmoil. But when Dennis was on the court for the Spurs, there was no doubting he brought 100%.
Where do you stand Spurs fans? Do you agree with the Spurs’ front office on how they handled Rodman or do you side with Rodman when he says it’s what he did on the court that should matter?