A guide for Bulls fans to the new 30 for 30, 'Rodman: For Better or Worse'

A guide for Bulls fans to the new 30 for 30, 'Rodman: For Better or Worse'

On Tuesday night ESPN debuted the much-anticipated 30 for 30, "Rodman: For Better or Worse". The film took a deep dive into how Rodman went from a shy and impoverished youth to the iconic and polarizing NBA Hall of Famer that we all know him as today. Although the film focused on Rodman's entire career and post-playing days exploits, Bulls fans certainly got what they needed in terms of intriguing 90s Bulls content to tide them over as they await the mega-Michael Jordan documentary 'The Last Dance' in 2020.

Here are the best moments from 'Rodman: For Better or Worse' for Bulls Nation to enjoy. 

1. 'The List'

The Bulls shocked the basketball world in 1995 when they pulled off a trade that no one saw coming. Many analysts were pointing out that the Bulls struggled on the boards in the absence of Horace Grant, who left for the Orlando Magic as an unrestricted free agent in 1994. So Bulls general manager Jerry Krause and head coach Phil Jackson agreed that the Bulls needed to pursue a competent power forward to help move Toni Kukoc back down to the small forward position. So Jackson decided he needed to make a formal list of players to target. 

Jackson's list ultimately contained five players and Rodman was indeed the fifth player on the list.

We do not know who the other four players on the list were and that is one of the most interesting aspects of Rodman getting to Chicago. Who were the other four players on that list? Maybe Shawn Kemp, whom the Bulls almost traded for in 1994? Charles Oakley, who is a close friend of Jordan and was a top 10 rebounder in 1994? Or perhaps Jackson even wanted to attempt to bring 'ol Horace Grant back into the fold. 

The acquisition of Rodman was the key to extending the NBA Championship window of the Jordan and Scottie Pippen Bulls, so how the dynasty would have fared had they traded for one of the other four names on Jackson's list is one of the great "What ifs?" in Bulls history.

2. Pardon me...how many shots of Jaeger

Rodman was just as famous for his excessive partying as he was for his dominant rebounding and one specific night added significantly to his legend. In Rodman: For Better or Worse it was revealed that during one particularly raucous night of partying, 'The Worm' took 40 shots of Jagermeister and again, just to clarify, this is one night we are talking about here. It generated some great responses from NBA Twitter.

40 shots, one night and somehow that isn't even the most impressive part of the story. After taking those 40 shots of Jagermeister that night, the legend goes that somehow Rodman managed to make it to practice the next morning. There truly is, only one Dennis Rodman.

3. Shocking words from the GOAT

Dennis Rodman has had a wild ride getting to where he is now. Above, we mentioned the extent to which Rodman partied. He even refers to his infamous wedding dress, book-signing event as "the beginning of the rockstar Dennis Rodman."

But "Rockstar Dennis Rodman" was so intense that the GOAT himself thought things were going to be headed south if Rodman didn't ease up on his partying and excessive late-night socializing. 

“In all honesty, playing with Dennis and the lifestyle he lived, I never thought he’d ever see 40”

-Michael Jordan on Dennis Rodman

It is quite a shocking statement to see from Jordan, who was obviously worried about Rodman despite the fact that the 6-foot-7 forward was always in remarkable shape and led the league in rebounding during all three of his seasons with the Bulls. But again, while fans simply saw the highlights, MJ had a behind-the-scenes look at what Rodman was up to on a constant basis and as current Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich—who was the general manager when the Spurs traded Rodman for Will Perdue—can attest to, Rodman's partying did not slow down during the season.

4. Everyone wants to be like Mike...even 'The Worm' 

While the assumption would be that Rodman always disliked Jordan due to his aggression against him during the Bad Boys Pistons days, it turns out that Rodman was just as big of an MJ fan as the rest of us. 

In Rodman: For Better or Worse it was shown that Rodman always had a ton of respect for Jordan and even idolized him. Former Pistons and Bulls forward John Salley kept it very, almost too real, when sharing how much Rodman admired Jordan. Salley went as far as to say that Rodman "loves Micahel Jordan's dirty-ass drawers."

Rodman stated that he also "loved Phil from day one" and longtime Bulls writer Sam Smith discussed how the unique leadership structure of the Bulls contributed heavily to Rodman fitting in so well. In the end, the second three-peat might've never happened without Rodman and he almost wasn't a part of the team. Reports state that Scottie Pippen was against the acquisition of Rodman and that he had to be convinced that the move was a good one.

Who do you ask led the charge in convincing Pippen that Rodman would be a good addition? Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. 

5. Before the legendary Anthony Davis growth spurt, there was Rodman's incredible transformation 

Chicago-native and NBA superstar Anthony Davis' legend grew when it became widespread information that he grew 8 inches in 18 months, turning him into the lanky big man he is today. But before Davis' spurt, there was Rodman, who had a remarkable growth spurt after high school. The number has been disputed, but it was stated that Rodman grew between 8-to-11 inches after finishing high school. While experiencing this growth spurt, Rodman was working as an overnight janitor at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport. 

Rodman had quit basketball as he didn't have enough skill to garner serious playing time from any coach. But after his growth spurt, he got back into the game, playing his first college basketball at North Central Texas College. Rodman didn't last long there due to academic struggles and eventually made his way to Southeastern Oklahoma University, where he became the top rebounder in the NAIA twice and was named a three-time NAIA All-American. 

That fateful growth spurt (obviously) had huge implications on Rodman's life, sending him down a path that ended in him becoming a Hall of Famer and one of the greatest and most beloved Bulls in franchise history. 

Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Bulls only score 73 points in loss to Charlotte


Bulls Outsiders Podcast: Bulls only score 73 points in loss to Charlotte

On this edition of the Bulls Outsiders podcast, Matt Peck, John Sabine, and David Watson react to the Bulls 83-73 loss to the Hornets.

0:30 - Will Perdue makes a cameo to start the show

1:00 - On only scoring 73 points

4:55 - Is this loss worse than the Celtics loss last season?

6:30 - Viewer comments on the loss and shooting too many threes

8:00 - Discussion on Thad Young minutes vs Lauri Markkanen minutes

12:10 - Viewer comment asking what would the Outsiders say if head coach

15:05 - Viewer comment on Tomas Satoransky

17:20 - Viewer trade idea for Terrance Ross

20:25 - Viewer comment on Coby White struggling

21:25 - Viewer comment on Kris Dunn starting

23:50 - Our ideas for other ‘theme’ nights for Bulls games

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below:

Bulls Outsiders


Is the Bulls' defensive philosophy hurting their rebounding?

Is the Bulls' defensive philosophy hurting their rebounding?

Jim Boylen opened his press conference with a silver lining.

"If there's a positive in this difficult loss, it's in the past when we haven't been able to put the ball in the basket... We haven't guarded well," Boylen said. "I thought our defense was terrific tonight. I thought it kept us in the game, it gave us a chance."

There's some validity to that. Friday night, the Bulls allowed their adversary, the Charlotte Hornets, only 83 points. The Hornets shot 38% from the floor, 19.4% from 3-point range (31 attempts) and turned the ball over 21 times. On most nights, holding an opponent to those numbers is a recipe for success — even if the paltriness of said figures was as much a result of the Hornets' sloppy play as anything.

Not in this one. The offense will shoulder most of the blame there: The Bulls shot only 30% from the field (they're the only team that's shot 30% or less from the field in a game this season, and they've done it twice) and 20.6% from 3-point range. According to Boylen, they shot 44% at the rim. Crucially, they were also outrebounded by Charlotte 60-45 — a disparity aided by the Bulls missing a whopping 63 field goals on the night. 

"They were crashing a lot of guys," Lauri Markkanen said. "We need to do a better job of boxing out. I feel like we did a good job defensively, but we just need to get the first rebound and limit their second-chance points."

The Hornets entered the night ranked 27th in rebound rate — which measures the percentage of missed shots a team is able to pull in — the Bulls 29th. For Charlotte, P.J. Washington (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Cody Zeller (11 points, 10 rebounds) both logged double-doubles, and Bismack Biyombo (12 points, nine rebounds) came close. As a team, they converted 11 offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points. 

"They had 11 offensive rebounds. It seemed like they had more," Boylen, aptly, said. "Those plays are back-breakers."

Especially true in such a drudgy game. The Hornets led 44-40 at the halftime break, then 59-50 entering the fourth after outscoring the Bulls 15-10 in the third quarter. It was a game from a different era.

Thad Young rejected the notion that the Bulls were outmatched physically or undersized, relative to the Hornets.

"I think that's about us just going out there and making sure we get the ball, and us gang-rebounding," he said of the disparity on the boards.

Young cited the team's defensive philosophy — specifically, their strategy of blitzing and aggressively hedging in pick-and-roll coverage — as one factor in their inconsistency in this area. Bringing bigs up and away from the basket on those actions can often leave them out of position when the other team's eventual shot is put up (and off) the rim. 

"The way our defense is it kinda crossmatches us a little bit, because the big is generally trying to stop the guard from driving. Then when they hit the big, he's in the trail position, so their big has inside position on us, and then you have a big on the baseline or you have a cutter going baseline," Young said. "So it kinda puts us in a situation where we have to figure out who's gonna be in to get the rebounds, and usually, the guys that's in there to get the rebounds are guards. Because they're sagging in on the weak-side or they're helping trying to get the big into position where he can rebound the basketball."

Wendell Carter Jr. had 11 boards on the night, but the Bulls' next-leading rebounder was Zach LaVine, with eight. Then Young with five.

But Young declined to label it a systemic issue, or even a communication one. 

"It's just something that kinda happens in the flow of the game," Young said. "Some games are gonna be different than others. Some games we're gonna be able to get our bigs back, and some games we're gonna depend on our guards to come in and rebound."

It seems that this is happening often, as of late. The Bulls have been outrebounded in 19 of their 27 games this season — they're 4-15 in said contests.

Of course, making shots would help, as well. Between the two teams, there were 112 missed field goals tonight. That's a lot of chances for rebounds, and the Hornets converted more than the Bulls tonight.

"Imma be honest with you, I don't really see too much they were doing [defensively]. We were just missing shots," Young said. "I had three for sure that just went in and came out, and a couple other guys had some so. I think it was just one of those nights."

It certainly was. Now, on to the next — Saturday night, when they fearsome Clippers come to town.

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