Dennis Rodman was a late bloomer. Playing basketball professionally was never a thought when he was younger. Even four years before the Detroit Pistons selected him in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft, he couldn’t beat his sisters on the court. Rodman used his two sisters as motivation to get better, and it helped spark his NBA Hall of Fame career.
Dennis Rodman flourished at Southeastern Oklahoma State University
When Rodman finished high school, he wasn’t even six feet tall. At South Oak Hill High School in Texas, Rodman was not considered an extraordinary athlete. After graduating, he accepted a job as an airport concierge. Rodman said he had grown 10 inches in two years and decided to give basketball another shot.
He enrolled at Cooke County College after the coach received advice from a friend of the Rodman family regarding the sudden growth and interest in playing basketball again. In his only semester there, he averaged over 17 points and 13 rebounds before becoming academically ineligible.
Rodman transferred to Southeastern Oklahoma State University, where he became a star. He has been NAIA All-American three times, averaging 25.7 points and 15.7 rebounds during his career.
In 1986, he led his team to the NAIA semifinals and tallied 46 points while grabbing 32 rebounds. He attended a pre-draft camp for the NBA prospects and caught the attention of the Pistons, who selected him in the second round with the 27th pick overall.
Dennis Rodman used his sisters’ basketball success as motivation
It wasn’t until four years before the Pistons brought Rodman to life in the NBA that he had no desire to continue playing basketball.
“If you could have been with me just four years ago, you would have seen the kind of person I was,” Rodman said after being taken away by the Pistons, by United Press International. “I was a bit lazy. I thought I would work or do something.
While he wasn’t doing much, his 6-foot-3 sister, Debra, played at Louisiana Tech, then played professionally for the Dallas Diamonds before playing overseas. Her other sister, 6-foot-1 Kim, played basketball at Stephen F. Austin.
Growing up, Rodman, even with the help of a friend, couldn’t beat his sisters in two-on-two matches.
“I couldn’t beat them,” Rodman said. “They would take me with a friend of mine and beat us all the time. I finally decided one day if they could do it, I could do it.
This moment marked the start of his illustrious hoop career.
Rodman went from lazy to one of the NBA’s most assiduous players
Rodman has had one of the most impressive NBA careers of all time. Although he had a massive growth spurt, he was only 6ft 8in tall, undersized for most NBA forwards. He was also slim at 210 pounds.
Despite being undersized by NBA standards, Rodman has battled much bigger and stronger players. He spent many nights diving for loose balls and pushing players back for rebounds. He even spent time in the movie theater or watching the players during warm-ups to see how their ball was spinning so he could get a better idea of how the ball would bounce off the rim.
It all led to the success of the man called The Worm.
For seven consecutive seasons, he led the NBA in the rebound. During that streak, he never had a season where he averaged less than 14.9 boards. During his 14-year career, Rodman averaged 13.1 rebounds and was a member of five championship teams. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011
Not bad for a sloth who was constantly embarrassed by his sisters on the basketball court.
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