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Before the release of Phil Jackson and Dennis Rodman in 1996, the New York Knicks were a laughable organization. Those that had watched the team played basketball in the borough of Manhattan were amazed at Jackson and Rodman’s abilities and the duo signed a 6 year $30 million contract. Since their arrival in New York, the Knicks have won six championships and went undefeated in the playoffs during the 1998-1999 season. Phil Jackson was the first person that Dennis Rodman had ever met and after the two had a series of confrontations, they formed a bond that was unlike any the world had ever seen.
When basketball legend Phil Jackson was named president of the New York Knicks in 1996, he made a bold move to hire the controversial Dennis Rodman, a basketball player who has been known for his off-the-court antics, including his infamous visit with Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and his support of the controversial N.W.A. rap group, as an assistant coach.
In his time in the league, Dennis Rodman has built a reputation as a man willing to go to extremes and do things his way. Good or bad, Worm has always played by the rules. Just ask Phil Jackson. Although the legendary head coach and Rodman eventually made contact with the Native Americans, the two men did not always get along. The striker even made a terrible first impression on his new boss when he was traded to the Chicago Bulls.
Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson have very different public images
Phil Jackson stands next to Dennis Rodman during the attacker’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. | Jim Rogash/Getty Images As fans in the stands, none of us know what professional athletes are really like on a personal level. But based on what we’ve seen over the years, we can conclude that Rodman and Jackson do their thing differently. Even if you’ve never watched an NBA game in your life, you probably know Rodman’s quirks. Although the forward has proven to be a capable player on the floor, he has become known for his extracurricular activities. Worm dyed his hair different colors, wore a wedding dress and dated many celebrities. But it wasn’t all fun and games. He also kicked a cameraman, was suspended several times and was heavily fined after making a public comment about all the Mormons in Utah. If Rodman didn’t have swing control, Jackson was on the other end of the spectrum. During his time with the federation, the coach became known as a Zen master, using a blend of Eastern philosophy and Indian language to bring out the best in his players. He introduced a triangle offense that emphasized exchanging the ball, gave his players books he thought would help them, and encouraged players to think instead of scold.
Worm made a bad first impression on his new coach
. As the old cliché goes, there are no second chances to make a first impression. That may be true, but it didn’t seem to bother Rodman. As The Last Dance and NBC Sports Chicago report, Worm didn’t do much to curry favor with Phil Jackson after he transferred to the Chicago Bulls. In fact, he didn’t seem very excited about the whole situation. It was awful, Jackson recalls. I’m going to Jerry Krause’s house. Rodman] is sitting on the bench. He has a pool cap over his eyes. He has rings in his nose and mouth and doesn’t get up to greet me. I said: Stand up, Dennis, take your hat off, shake hands. Let’s go outside and talk. Although the attacker told a slightly different version of the story, the interaction was still far from textbook. In those days, we had to break bread in the house, Rodman says. He said: Dennis, you wanna play for the Bulls? I said: I don’t care. I don’t care. How does it work?
Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson connected with Native Americans and won 3 NBA championships
. Despite a difficult start, Rodman and Jackson eventually found common ground. Both men appreciate Native American traditions and note that they speak the same language. Dennis and I had an Indian connection, Jackson explained, according to the NBC Sports article. I had a necklace made of bear claws, a turtle shell I brought from another reservation, and several other Native American items in my crew room. said Dennis: Wow, I got a Ponca Indian necklace in Oklahoma. I like it. That’s what I’m saying: Well, Dennis, in their tradition, and in the tradition that I knew, you would be a heyoka – a man who walks backwards. They were people who were different, and they were heyoka. So you’re a Heyoka in this tribe. For Worm, this recognition has made a big difference. For a man who felt like an outsider before unabashedly accepting his uniqueness, he now feels like he’s working with someone who understands him. Phil realized I was different, Rodman said. Phil knew me so well that he knew I needed to correct my behavior. That’s what was so great about playing with this team. If someone needed something, they all had it. And Phil took it very calmly. From a basketball perspective, that personal relationship seems to have taken its toll. Although Rodman had some strange moments during his time with the Bulls, he proved to be a perfect replacement for Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Worm proved to be an important part of Chicago’s second triple play, then each went their separate ways. Judging by the quality of the players he has worked with, some might cynically doubt Phil Jackson’s coaching abilities. But given his work with Dennis Rodman and the Bulls, it’s clear he knows how to deal with people. COMPARED TO: Michael Jordan got biceps for a .0001% advantage on the basketball court
Frequently Asked Questions
What did Phil Jackson call Dennis Rodman?
In the minutes after last week’s epic clash between the Toronto Raptors and the New York Knicks, the former Bulls head coach shared an iconic anecdote about how he and Rodman met for the first time. On that day, Jackson recalled, he was sitting down for a pre-game dinner in Las Vegas when the NBA center approached him and handed him a book. The two discussed the book as they picked at their food. And then, Rodman explained, he asked Jackson what he thought of the book. Jackson, amazed by the athlete’s astuteness, handed the book back to Rodman and asked him what it was. “It’s a job application,” Rodman replied. “Phil, I’m an NBA player,” said Jackson, ” In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Dallas Mavericks owner and executive Tex Winter was a fixture in the NBA as the president of basketball operations for the Lakers. At the time, Dallas had a stellar young talent in center/forward Kurt Rambis. In the 1988 NBA draft, the Lakers took Rambis with their first pick. Unbeknownst to Lakers fans, the Lakers had already taken a young forward out of Kentucky in the first round the year before, and had decided to trade that pick to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for future considerations. Behind the scenes, Lakers’ GM Jerry West had a secret plan to trade Rambis for legendary Lakers’ center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but he went about doing his
Why did Jerry Krause not want Phil Jackson?
Jackson has always been a big fan of Krause, who he feels has been loyal to him. It’s no secret that Jackson has a close relationship with Krause. They’ve been friends for years. Jackson said that they talked before and after every game during his time as coach of the Bulls. The idea of a feud between Phil Jackson and the Bulls’ former GM Jerry Krause was one of the most popular talking points amongst fans and media when the two were together. The two didn’t get along so well, and the relationship deteriorated to the point where Jackson traded Krause to the Warriors for Scottie Pippen.
Why didn’t Phil Jackson stay with the Bulls?
Phil Jackson’s tenure as the Chicago Bulls’ head coach was full of drama, but it’s not often that one person makes a bigger impact than a whole room full of people. That’s exactly what happened when Phil Jackson walked into the media room after the Bulls’ first preseason game in Chicago. In 1992, the Bulls were coming off a strong season and were primed to make yet another deep playoff run. That was, until Jerry Krause fired their GM and best coach in franchise history. Phil Jackson had been the architect of the team’s success, and Krause knew that he could not afford to let him go, so he handled the situation in the most unceremonious way possible. Rather than tell Jackson the reason for his ouster, Krause simply shipped the best player on the team to Seattle for rookie Antonio McDyess. Jackson, having been let down by Krause before, was crushed and vowed to never again work for the front office.
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