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Dennis Rodman - Hall of Famer?

Every time I see a chat session about the NBA, hosted by "insiders" from various sports websites, my first question is always, “Is Dennis Rodman a Hall of Famer?”. More often than not, I get the response that he is NOT. This is very puzzling to me since his numbers and accolades suggest otherwise. Let’s look at a breakdown of his resume:

- From 1991-92 through 1997-98, Rodman lead the NBA in rebounds/game. The only other NBA players to lead the league in rebounding that many consecutive times were…..well, NO ONE. His seven rebounding titles, regardless of when they took place, were matched only by Wilt Chamberlain. Not Bill Russell. Not Moses Malone. Not Dikembe Mutombo, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley or Karl Malone.

- In the 1991-92 season, Rodman averaged 18.7 rebounds/game. The last time a player even got close to that number was Moses Malone is 1978-79, when he averaged 17.61 rebounds/game. Since 1991-92, the closest a player got to 18.7 was…Rodman! He averaged 18.26 rebounds/game in 1992-93, followed by 17.3 in 1993-94. Since those three seasons, only Ben Wallace has cracked 15.0 rebounds/game.

- For his career, Rodman ranks #10 on the all time rebounding list, ahead of such players as Willis Reed, Elvin Hayes, Moses Malone, Dolph Shayes, Tim Duncan, Charles Barkley, and I could go on and on. Additionally, if you combine the NBA and ABA leaders, Rodman ranks #11.

- Rodman has been a member of FIVE NBA champion teams – two with Detroit and three with the Bulls. Now, you might say that Robert Horry or Steve Kerr were members of multiple championship teams, but neither had as big an impact on each of those teams as Rodman did. On the two Detroit teams, in his third and fourth seasons, Rodman averaged 9.5 rebounds/game and 8.9 points/game in only 27.95 minutes per game. On the Bulls teams that Rodman won championships with, he averaged 15.3 rebounds/game.

- Additional accolades in Rodman’s career include:
*2 all-star game appearances
*2 Defensive Player of the Year awards (since the award’s inception, only Sidney Moncrief, Mark -Eaton, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning and Ben Wallace have received the award multiple times)
*7 All-Defensive First Team honors

I believe that it is a no-brainer that Rodman gets inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame and I am not feeling that only because I am a Chicago Bulls fan and how much joy he brought to the city of Chicago. Two criteria that I believe need to be taken more seriously are 1) a significant and contributing member of a championship team (5 times) and (2), the fact the Rodman DOMINATED a huge aspect of the game for seven years straight. There were and are few players who could get into the head’s of their opponents, better than Rodman. I believe that the main reason there is backlash for Rodman in the hall of fame is strictly an age issue. I feel that the voters for the Hall of Fame are older gentleman who cannot get past Rodman’s eccentric, off-court behavior, his relations with the media and his practice habits. First, who cares what Rodman did off the court, except TMZ? There have been some professional sports players who behaved far worse than Rodman did off the field or court. Second, Rodman, although eccentric, was very shy when he was in the league and that was the reason for his relations with the media. And finally, Rodman played for two of the greatest coaches in NBA history – the late Chuck Daley and Phil Jackson. Neither of those two seemed to have a problem with Rodman's practice habits. In fact, the two had nothing, but positive things to say about Rodman, who brought it every time he stepped onto the court.

In a few years when "The Worm" becomes Hall of Fame eligible, there is no doubt in my mind that he SHOULD be elected…..although, in my heart of hearts, I know that he probably won’t and that is a shame.


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