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Dennis Rodman is one of the most iconic players in NBA history because quite frankly, there has not been another celebrity with the character that the 6-time champion possessed. With his uncanny way of living his life and going about his business, Rodman captivated fans throughout his career. A man who appreciated the joys of life outside of basketball, Dennis Rodman was an incredibly popular figure in sports media and also in Hollywood.
But on the court, The Worm is one of the most dominant defensive players ever. The 6’7” power forward had a tremendous career, capturing 5 NBA titles, making 2 All-Star Teams, and also making 8 All-Defensive Teams. An iconic defender who could handle all five positions when required, Rodman also won Defensive Player of the Year twice. While Rodman is in the discussion for being the best defender ever, he is also in the discussion for being the greatest rebounder ever.
Dennis Rodman has to be the greatest rebounder ever, leading the league in rebounds for 7 straight years and making that his greatest skill. An obsessed rebounder who loved watching tape to study his opponent’s shots, Rodman had the best skill of grabbing defensive rebounds ever. Here are Dennis Rodman’s rebounders per game for each season, possibly solidifying his stance as the single greatest rebounder ever.
1986-1987 Season: 4.3 RPG
In Rodman’s rookie season, the Detroit Pistons finished with a 52-30 under head coach Chuck Daly and even made it to the Eastern Conference in the playoffs. At 25 years old, Rodman only played 15.0 MPG while appearing in 77 total games with 1 start. Rodman’s rebounding numbers would increase per year, and his 4.3 RPG is his career-low.
1987-1988 Season: 8.7 RPG
In his second season with the Pistons, Rodman started getting more minutes and appeared in 82 games with 32 starts at 26.2 MPG. The lengthy forward averaged double-digit scoring for the first time (and only time) in his career at 11.6 PPG, while also more than doubling his rebounds by chipping in 8.7 RPG. In the postseason, the Pistons lost to the Lakers in the Finals.
1988-1989 Season: 9.4 RPG
Rodman’s third season delivered the highest FG percentage in his career, as he nailed 59.5% of his shots from the field. The forward once again appeared in 82 games, averaging 26.9 MPG as the main defensive stopper off the bench. He averaged 9.4 RPG, getting closer to putting up at least 10 RPG. Thanks to the brilliance of Joe Dumars and Isiah Thomas and Rodman’s defense, the Pistons end up winning the NBA title. Rodman would make his first of five straight All-Defensive First Teams.
1989-1990 Season: 9.7 RPG
Dennis Rodman would make his first All-Star Team in his career in the 1990 season, while also capturing his second straight NBA championship. The forward started a career-high 43 games in 82 appearances, averaging 29.0 MPG. Rodman averaged 9.7 RPG while showcasing elite versatility on defense, earning him his first Defensive Player of the Year award. His 1990 season was certainly one to remember because he achieved so many accolades at once.
1990-1991 Season: 12.5 RPG
The following season, Rodman would capture his second straight Defensive Player of the Year award by starting 77 games out of 82 played and averaging 12.5 RPG. For the first time in his career, Rodman put up double-digits in rebounding as that would soon kick off an iconic 7-year run as the game’s most elite rebounder. Once again a dominant defender, Dennis Rodman was critical to the Pistons’ run to the Eastern Conference Finals, this time falling to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.
1991-1992 Season: 18.7 RPG
After Rodman put up his first double-digit rebounding numbers a year prior, the forward averaged an incredible 18.7 RPG in the 1992 season for the Pistons. Rodman started 80 games, played 40.3 MPG, and nearly averaged a double-double by putting up 9.8 PPG. Chipping in 0.8 SPG and 0.9 BPG, Rodman’s defense was becoming incredible to watch and his impact was undeniably great even if he was not inclined to score. That is why the dominant defender made his first All-NBA Team.
1992-1993 Season: 18.3 RPG
Rodman’s final season as a member of the Detroit Pistons was an interesting one because he once again put up over 18 RPG while playing close to 40 MPG. But the forward only appeared in 65 total games, starting 55 of them. The team was getting slightly older and failed to make the playoffs under new head coach Ron Rothstein, leaving the franchise with a decision to make about the forward’s future. Much to Rodman’s surprise, on October 1st, 1993, the Detroit Pistons traded forwards Dennis Rodman and Isaiah Morris, a 1994 2nd round draft pick, and a 1996 1st round draft pick to the San Antonio Spurs for Sean Elliott, David Wood, and a 1996 1st round draft pick.
1993-1994 Season: 17.3 RPG
With his new team, Dennis Rodman continued his brilliance on the glass by putting up 17.3 RPG for the San Antonio Spurs. The forward, like most in the game, were shocked that the Pistons would trade a player who just averaged over 18 RPG for two straight seasons. But that was beyond Rodman’s control, as he continued his defensive brilliance although he failed to progress past the first round of the playoffs. But this season was the first glimpse of Rodman embracing his true self, as he started acting out beyond his usual “shy” self with the Pistons. Before his first game with the Spurs, he dyed his hair blonde and would continue adding color throughout the season. His neck nickname, “The Demolition Man”, started becoming popular. Even though Rodman made an All-Defensive Team again and created a dominant defensive duo with David Robinson, the Spurs could not get past the Jazz in the first round.
1994-1995 Season: 16.8 RPG
The 1995 season was a very interesting one for Rodman, who once again led the league in rebounds by amassing 823 total rebounds and averaging 16.8 RPG for the season. With his incredible ability to impact the game defensively and on the boards, Rodman made another All-NBA Team. But his clashes with San Antonio’s front office started becoming apparent because he only played 49 games due to suspensions and also injuries like the one he sustained in a motorcycle accident. Even if the Spurs won 62 games and made it to the Western Conference Finals, Rodman’s behavior was not going to fly in San Antonio.
1995-1996 Season: 14.9 RPG
With Rodman’s behavior and his new outlook of life becoming a distraction for the Spurs, he was traded to the Chicago Bulls. Chicago were already a force with superstar Michael Jordan on the roster, and Dennis was brought in to replace the departed Horace Grant who played a vital role for the Bulls. In a bold move by the Bulls front office that was certainly a gamble, the 34-year-old Rodman had a massive impact by leading the league in RPG again and making an All-Defensive Team yet again. Rodman helped the Bulls attain a 72-10 record, and his defense was critical in winning his 3rd championship.
1996-1997 Season: 16.1 RPG
The 1997 season was not an easy one for Dennis Rodman, even if he would lead the league in rebounds again. The charismatic power forward once again had his issues with behavior, famously kicking a cameraman in the groin and avoiding what could have been severe legal trouble. Rodman faced an 11-game suspension for his actions, and would also have injury issues throughout the season. Even if Dennis was not at his best, his defense and rebounding gave the Bulls enough to win another championship.
1997-1998 Season: 15.0 RPG
During the “Last Dance” season for the Chicago Bulls, Dennis Rodman started becoming a massive celebrity figure once he began his relationship with famous singer Madonna. On the court, Rodman was once again dominant as he led the league in rebounds for the 7th straight time and played some of the best defense of his career against Karl Malone in the NBA Finals. With his sheer ability to crash the boards consistently every year and make All-Defensive Teams, Rodman might have solidified himself as the greatest rebounder ever when he won his 5th championship.
1998-1999 Season: 11.2 RPG
Following the breakup of the championship core of Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Phil Jackson following the 1998 season, Rodman joined the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency. The 7-time rebounding champion only appeared in 23 games for the Lakers, starting in 11 games. He managed to have an impressive average of 11.2 RPG at 37 years old, but he was no longer an elite player who could impact championship teams at his age
1999-2000 Season: 14.3 RPG
Dennis Rodman’s final season did not go as planned, because he was seemingly unmotivated to be a valuable member of a franchise looking to win despite averaging an impressive 14.3 RPG through 12 games. The forward barely lasted with the Mavericks, getting suspended for a game and also receiving an incredible 6 technical fouls in a few weeks of basketball. At age 38, Dennis Rodman was past his best, and his inability to remain focused caused him to get cut early in the season. Still, by looking at his tremendous resume through rebounding statistics, there is no doubt who the greatest rebounder is and it is none other than the 5-time NBA champion.
Career Average – 13.1 RPG
Dennis Rodman is the best rebounder in NBA history and arguably the best role player of all time. He was the perfect player for the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan. His role was pretty clear: rebound, rebound, rebound and defend, defend, defend. It’s safe to say he did a perfect job.
He won 5 NBA championships, was a 2-time Defensive Player of the Year; was selected 7 times as part of the NBA All-Defensive First Team, while also being a 7-time rebounding leader in the league. He was a very controversial person off the court, but on the court he was committed, played for the team, and gave his everything every game. The Worm really exceeded at his role, and one thing we know for sure is that there will never be another Dennis Rodman.