Dennis Rodman Got 5 Technical Fouls In 1st 8 Preseason Games With Bulls: ‘What Was Going To Happen When The Games Started Counting For Real?’

The Chicago Bulls acquired NBA legend Dennis Rodman from the San Antonio Spurs in 1995, a move many were shocked by. 

NBA, Chicago Bulls, Dennis Rodman
Andy Lyons, Allsport

In the summer of 1995, the Bulls asked Scottie Pippen and Michael Jordan if they were fine with Rodman joining the squad. Neither Jordan nor Pippen objected. 

However, after Rodman got five technical fouls in his first eight preseason games with the Bulls, Pippen was a little concerned. 

“Over the eight preseason games, Dennis received 5 technical fouls,” Pippen wrote in his book. “I repeat: preseason. What was going to happen when the games started counting for real?

“Everyone was watching him, waiting for the slightest sign of trouble. And he knew it.”

Rodman wasn’t always on his best behavior with the Bulls, but he helped Chicago win three straight NBA championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998. 

One of the best rebounders in NBA history, Rodman averaged 5.2 points and 15.3 rebounds with the Bulls, who defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in the 1996 NBA Finals and the Utah Jazz in the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals.

Rodman won three straight rebounding titles while playing for the Bulls. 

“He studied the tendencies of his opponents and teammates, planting himself in perfect rebounding position even before guys got into shooting mode,” Pippen wrote. “Dennis possessed an unbelievable basketball IQ. He could have a tremendous impact on a game without scoring a single point. How many players can you say that about?”

The Bulls won three NBA championships before acquiring Rodman. However, Rodman said in “The Last Dance” docuseries that Chicago wouldn’t have won three more titles without him. 

“You got the great Michael Jordan, the great Scottie Pippen, the great Phil Jackson, but if you take me away from this team, do they still win a championship? I don’t think so,” Rodman said in The Last Dance. “I love Michael Jordan to death. I love Scottie Pippen, all these guys, but they really don’t do the things that I do. 

“I’m the only guy who does all the dirty work, taking abuse from other players. I wanna go out there and get my nose broke. I wanna get cut. Something that’s gonna really just bring out the hurt, the pain. I wanna feel that.”

Rodman used to hurt Pippen when he played for the Detroit Pistons. However, Pippen quickly learned that Rodman was a smart basketball player. 

“As the days wore on, I was surprised at how reserved he was,” Pippen wrote. “There is Dennis Rodman the spectacle, and Dennis Rodman the man, and the two are very different. Dennis kept to himself most of the time in training camp, working on his conditioning and his craft. He was often the first player to arrive at the gym and the last to leave. 

“I never saw anyone else learn the triangle as fast as he did. Learn it? He mastered it.”

Rodman finished his Hall of Fame career with averages of 7.3 points, 13.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists. He made two All-Star teams, eight All-Defensive teams and two All-NBA teams. 

Rodman also won two Defensive Player of the Year Awards, five championships and seven rebounding titles. 

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