Put Rodman In


For far too long it has been ignored but such a crime cannot continue: Dennis Rodman deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Indeed, the Hall is all about rewarding players who contributed to winning and who help tell the history of the game of basketball; and if the committee truly believes those things, they should ignore all of Rodman’s off the court transgressions (hell, some of them were even on the court) and make sure that his name is forever mentioned in the same breath as some of the greatest players of all time.

Listed at all of 6’8, Rodman is one of the best rebounders in the history of the NBA despite playing in the same era as Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Patrick Ewing to name a few. Not convinced? Have a look at the graphic below that lists the 25 players with the most rebounds in NBA history (players with an asterisk next to their name have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame):

Rank
Player
Total Rebounds
1
Wilt Chamberlain*
23924
2
Bill Russell*
21620
3
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar*
17440
4
Elvin Hayes*
16279
5
Moses Malone*
16212
6
Karl Malone*
14968
7
Robert Parish*
14715
8
Nate Thurmond*
14464
9
Walt Bellamy*
14241
10
Wes Unseld*
13769
11
Hakeem Olajuwon*
13748
12
Buck Williams
13017
13
Jerry Lucas*
12942
14
Shaquille O'Neal
12921
15
Bob Pettit*
12849
16
Charles Barkley*
12546
17
Dikembe Mutombo
12359
18
Paul Silas
12357
19
Charles Oakley
12205
20
Kevin Garnett
12188
21
Dennis Rodman
11954
22
Kevin Willis
11901
23
Patrick Ewing*
11607
24
Elgin Baylor
11463
25
Tim Duncan*
11335

The list does display an elite class of rebounders but then again, if you play long enough in the NBA and avoid injuries, you can amass numbers just through longevity. So instead, let’s look at the top 20 rebounders in NBA history, but this time we will list them by rebounding average (players with an asterisk next to their name have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame):

Rank
Player
RPG
1
Wilt Chamberlain*
22.89
2
Bill Russell*
22.45
3
Bob Pettit*
16.22
4
Jerry Lucas*
15.61
5
Nate Thurmond*
15.00
6
Wes Unseld*
13.99
7
Walt Bellamy*
13.65
8
Dave Cowens*
13.63
9
Elgin Baylor*
13.55
10
Dennis Rodman
13.12
11
Willis Reed*
12.94
12
Gus Johnson*
12.68
13
Dwight Howard
12.66
14
Elvin Hayes*
12.49
15
Moses Malone*
12.20
16
Dolph Schayes*
12.08
17
Bill Bridges
11.94
18
Harry Gallatin*
11.89
19
Charles Barkley*
11.69
20
Tim Duncan
11.60

After carefully reviewing the graphic above, you might have noticed that there are only four players in the list that have not yet been inducted into the Hall of Fame: Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard are not yet eligible because they are active players (they will both probably get in at some point) and the other two are Bill Bridges and Dennis Rodman. Bridges played during the 60’s and 70’s where the pace of the game was faster and where there were more rebounds available due to the lack of efficient shooters. Rodman on the other is clearly one of the best rebounders of NBA history given the fact that he dominated that aspect of the game like few have. Have a quick glance below at some of his rebounding accomplishments:

-Led the league in offensive rebounds six times, which is second all time to Moses Malone who did it eight times.
-Led the league in defensive rebounds three times, which is second all time only to Kevin Garnett who has done it five times.
-Led the league in total rebounds four times, which is third all time only to Wilt Chamberlain who did it 11 times and Moses Malone who did it five times.
-Led the league in rebounds per game seven times, which is second all time only to Wilt Chamberlain who did it 11 times.

Let me reiterate this again: Dennis Rodman was 6’8 and yet he played like he was a seven footer as he routinely cleaned the glass. His rebounding prowess alone should place him in the Hall and yet, he was more than just a rebounder. Indeed, Rodman was such a ferocious defender (especially in his younger Pistons days), that his coaches would often have him guard the other team’s best player, regardless of position. One night, he might have been asked to guard a perimeter player like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippen or Michael Jordan (you know, only five of the best 40 players to have ever played basketball) and the next he would be asked to bang inside with the likes of Karl Malone, Charles Barkley or Shaquille O’Neal. In case you’re wondering just how good of a defender Rodman truly was, he was voted seven times to the NBA All-Defensive 1st Team (to put this in perspective, Ben Wallace has been voted to the 1st team five times) and also collected two Defensive Player of the Year awards.

For all intents and purposes, other than Bill Russell, no other player in NBA history embodies the notion of defense quite like Rodman. Although I touched on this in the previous paragraph, it warrants being repeated: never in the rich history of the NBA has there been and will there be another player capable of guarding Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal. Never.

And yet, here we are still discussing whether Rodman deserves a spot in the prestigious Hall simply because he lived an eccentric life, was fond of tattoos and once wore a wedding dress out in public. It is high time that we looked past those issues and recognize that the man was a once in a generation type of player that poured blood, sweat and tears on the hardwood on his way to five championship rings. If that can’t get you inducted, I’m not sure what can anymore…

2 Comments:

Muggsy Mutombo said...

Rodman is definitely a hall of fame cat. Great piece.

Shyne said...

Thanks for the love Mugsy! I feel as though he should already be in...The Hall needs to stop screwing around with this.

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