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How Much of a Game Changer Was Dennis Rodman?

Before he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons, Rodman played for the Southeastern Oklahoma Sooners and led the NAIA in rebounding with 15.9 and 17.8 boards per game. He was drafted by the Pistons in the second round at age 25. When Rodman was at Southeastern, he was a shy, introverted student, who once befriended Rodman at a basketball camp. The young man had been involved in a hunting accident, and as a result, had become quite reclusive.

Growing up in a dysfunctional family, Dennis had a tough childhood and struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. As a teenager, he found solace in basketball and Chuck Daly and his “Bad Boys” teammates. When he turned twenty, he was a natural athlete who thrived in the NBA. But his career had taken a turn when he fell in love with a woman and started dating her.

The first pillar of his character was his innate desire to atone for his mistakes. Dennis learned the triangle offense quickly and seemed to know exactly what the Bulls needed. He was sent to the summer league by the Bulls’ assistant coach, Brad Sellers. In this summer league, Rodman worked with other players to develop his offensive skills. He didn’t worry about proving himself ahead of others, instead he was content with merely being a better scorer than his peers.

The San Antonio Spurs were so fed up with Rodman’s behavior that they resolved to trade him. They were so dissatisfied that they considered making him available for the 1995 Expansion Draft, or releasing him. Ultimately, the Spurs lucked out and traded Rodman to the Bulls. This was the perfect scenario for Chicago. However, the Spurs lucked out, and they landed the player they needed.

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