48 hours of Dennis Rodman in Las Vegas. It will surely stand the test of time as one of the greatest teaser trailers in the history of television and/or film:
With the airings of Episodes 3 and 4 of “The Last Dance,” we can safely say that the culmination of that tease lived up to the hype.
In Episode 3, we learned that Rodman’s itch to galavant off to Sin City stemmed from feelings of alienation after Scottie Pippen returned from his coordinated absence to begin the 1997-98 season. Pippen returned to play even after requesting a trade to avoid potential fines the Bulls would have levied against him.
“While Scottie was out, Dennis was a model citizen to a point where it was driving him f**king insane,” Michael Jordan said in a present-day interview. “So when Scottie came back, Dennis wanted to take a vacation.”
After expressing an understandable amount of skepticism, Jordan and Jackson allowed Rodman his two days in Vegas.
“Dennis was bizarre. But I think what made it work was Phil and Michael’s understanding that to get the most out of him on the court, you had to give him some rope,” Steve Kerr said in the episode. “And they gave him a lot of rope.”
You can say that again. Episode 3 ends with Rodman riding off on a motorcycle into the inky black Chicago night. By the beginning of Episode 4, the party was on (and those words are straight from Carmen Electra's lips).
What ensued was five minutes of smash-cuts to different Rodman booze-soaked excursions, with Big Pun's "Still Not A Playa" blaring in the background. The soundtrack stays on point, and Rodman's antics did, too.
"It was definitely an occupational hazard to be Dennis' girlfriend. He was wild," said Electra, Rodman's ex-wife.
Rodman (and Electra) eventually returned from their foray. But, perhaps predictably, not in the most punctual manner. Jordan was on the case.
“He didn't come back on time. We had to go get his ass out of bed,” Jordan said in the documentary. “And I'm not going to say what's in his bed or where he was."
“There's a knock on the door. It's Michael Jordan,” Electra said. “I hid. I didn't want him to see me like that, so I'm just hiding behind the couch with covers over me.”
Then, there were challenges in getting Rodman back into shape after his vacation. In fact, he's depicted in Episode 4 showing up for his first practice back in what appeared to be lackluster shape. Jordan looked at the positive, though.
"His body made it here, Phil," he said. "Don't ask for too much."
Jackson took those challenges in stride, forging a bond with Rodman based on their shared experiences with Native American cultures growing up and their free spirited ways, which is also portrayed in Episode 4.
“We appreciate the fact that he’s a maverick,” Jackson said in a present-day interview. “But yet when it comes time for him to perform, he’s always on the court for us, always playing hard for us."
In spite of it all, Rodman suited up for 80 games in 1997-98 and led the NBA in rebounds per game (15) for the seventh and final time in his career. At least in Chicago, The Worm always seemed to get the last laugh.