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Rodman: Don’t compare LeBron to Pippen
by Adam Fluck
Posted on Aug 13
LeBron James, given his size and remarkable all-around abilities, has been compared to Bulls legend Scottie Pippen before. The parallels became even stronger with James’ decision to join Dwyane Wade in Miami, creating a Jordan and Pippen-like combination in some minds.
But Pippen’s former teammate, Dennis Rodman, swiftly dismissed that notion on Thursday following an autograph session at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
“People talk about LeBron,” said Rodman. “You’ve got to understand, LeBron has no business even being in the same conversation with Scottie. Scottie was the epitome of the (do it all elite player). What do you want me to say? Scottie was great.”
Just as so many of his other teammates have regularly done, Rodman was only following suit for the player who garnered so much respect throughout his 17 season career and will enter basketball’s Hall of Fame Friday in Springfield, Mass.
“Scottie was supportive. Michael was like his big brother and I came in as the black sheep of the family,” Rodman said of his Chicago arrival in 1995. “I did my wild thing, but it was cool and we kept it together. Scottie was right in the middle of that team and he supported us all.”
In Rodman’s first season, of course, the Bulls were at their very best, starting the season with a 41-3 record and finishing with a league-record 72 wins. Following Horace Grant’s departure, Rodman was acquired by the Bulls in a trade for Will Perdue, who was sent to the San Antonio Spurs.
It was considered a fairly risky move adding the unpredictable Rodman, but under Phil Jackson, Jordan and Pippen’s umbrella, the player known as “The Worm” continued to do his thing. He turned in another season as the NBA’s best rebounder, averaging 14.9 per game.
Rodman actually was the league’s rebounding champion for seven straight seasons, from 1992 to 1998. While speaking at the Hall of Fame, he couldn’t help but make his case to eventually be enshrined with the game’s greats.
“I’ve had a helluva run. I think being here signifies that I should be in someday, one day before I die,” said Rodman.
Given his resume—five-time NBA champion, seven-time NBA All-Defensive First Team, two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and two-time NBA All-Star—the argument is certainly valid.
“It’s up to the people here,” said Rodman. “I don’t know what they’re going to do or what they’re going to put a scale on whether Dennis Rodman should be in with all of his off court antics. But look at the history of sports. You’ve had alcoholics in baseball, cocaine addicts in basketball. You tell me.
“Not to toot my own horn, but I think a lot of people in the community are probably a little envious because I’m such a showman,” Rodman continued. “I’d love to be in for my kids, mostly for them.”