When the Chicago Bulls acquired Dennis Rodman from the San Antonio Spurs for 7-foot center Will Purdue before the 1995 season, it transformed the frontcourt of an already uber-talented Michael Jordan squad into something akin to basketball’s version of The Beatles. Games on the road were as if the Harlem Globetrotters, Ringling Bros., Cirque du Soleil and Chris Rock were all touring together. Much of the latter was due to their X-Factor, Rodman.
Besides his rebounding prowess on the boards and intense defensive skills, Rodman brought tats, body piercings, colored hair and controversies to the United Center and other arenas.
And don’t forget Carmen Electra.
The colorful Rodman stories are documented in ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance, which aired its third and fourth episodes last night. With Rodman, it’s hard to pick just one. There was the time in 1997 when Rodman decided he’d had enough and did something about it, kicking a cameraman square in the nuts out of pure frustration.
Or how about when Rodman skipped practice between Games 3 and 4 of the 1998 NBA Finals so he could attend a WCW wrestling match in Auburn Hills, Michigan?
We could go on, but let’s focus on a really fun one – Carmen Electra
In the middle of the 1997-98 season, Bulls coach Phil Jackson did actually grant the Power Forward 48 hours to go to Vegas and do, whatever stays in Vegas. Michael Jordan being Michael Jordan was worried about Jackson’s decision, even warning his coach that if he allowed The Worm to go Vegas, he wouldn’t make it back in time.
“He needs a vacation? I need a f*cking vacation, ” was Jordan’s reaction. Watch below:
Carmen Electra, Rodman’s girlfriend at the time, agreed.
“I do remember being in Vegas with [Dennis]. It was on,” Electra said. “The party was starting right away. One thing about Dennis, he had to escape. He liked to go out. He liked to go to clubs. We’d go to his favorite restaurant. Then we’d go to a nightclub. Then we’d go to after hours. It didn’t stop. It was definitely an occupational hazard to be Dennis’s girlfriend. He was wild.
“But to be honest, I didn’t realize what the team’s schedule was,” she continued. “I didn’t know he took a detour.”
When Rodman did return from Vegas, he still did not make his way back to the team as Jordan predicted. To put things in perspective, Rodman lived across the street from the United Center.
“There’s a knock on the door. It’s Michael Jordan,” Electra said. “And I hid. I didn’t want him to see me like that. So I’m just like hiding behind the couch with covers on me.”
The rest is history: Rodman rejoined the team, the Bulls went on to win their second consecutive three-peat.
The 10-part documentary, The Last Dance airs Sundays on ESPN and can be streamed outside of the U.S. on Netflix.