This year the Spurs are celebrating their 50th season in San Antonio. There have been many highs and a few lows. One trademark of the San Antonio Spurs has been their culture and their consistency. The keys to those qualities lie in their players. Always noted for development as well as being ahead of the curve on scouting international players, the Spurs way has made the franchise one of the most successful of all time. As we look back on the Silver & Black, we recognize the top 50 players in Spurs history. Each day, we will move up the countdown.
34- Dennis Rodman
How can one player simultaneously be the greatest rebounder of all time, the most colorful player in the NBA, and the worst fit for the San Antonio Spurs all at once? It would appear difficult to answer you lived through the 1993-1995 era of San Antonio Spurs basketball.
Personally, Dennis Rodman was my favorite player of those times. I was exactly the target audience for his hijinks. I loved the outgoing, rock star personality. His constant hair color alterations kept me checking each game to see what fresh new look he was fronting. But on the court, no one worked harder for each and every rebound. Yet, at the same time showed no effort for free throws or jump balls. A total mix of “all-in” and I don’t care playing out nightly in front of thousands of screaming fans at the Alamodome.
The worst of it was that he simply didn’t mesh with the Spurs (and David Robinson’s) squeaky clean team personae.
San Antonio is where Rodman really let his freak flag fly, making the city an overnight paparazzi destination when Madonna started showing up to games. Additionally, he head-butted Stacey King and John Stockton and refused to leave the court after being ejected. He conflicted with Spurs front office and was suspended three times by the team (once during the playoffs for having his shoes off and lying down during a time out). He took a leave of absence, and was injured during a motorcycle accident causing more missed games during his second season.
He was also the leagues top rebounder in both of his seasons with the Spurs.
The Spurs couldn’t get him to conform and he made his discomfort apparent. And the truth was that Rodman’s presence wasn’t enough to push the Spurs past the Houston Rockets in the playoffs.
The experiment failed and Rodman was traded after only two seasons to the Chicago Bulls where he was an integral part of the second Michael Jordan three peat.
Next up: “Sugar” comes to The Alamo City.
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