If one factor separates Dennis Rodman from any participant in NBA historical past, it is his daring picture and way of living. The Worm by no means actually cared about anybody’s orders (properly, besides perhaps Phil Jackson‘s), however not even former NBA commissioner David Stern had a say on what he might or could not do. Rodman thrived on being free, rebellious, and the “unhealthy boy” of the league.
Stern did not like Rodman’s tattoos.
Surprisingly, tattoos weren’t typical for NBA gamers again within the early ’90s. Rodman was simply one of many few who rocked them again within the day, alongside along with his coloured hair and piercings. This did not sit properly with Stern, who at the moment was on a mission to alter the picture of the NBA.
Stern was very centered on eliminating the league’s drug use and “unhealthy boy” picture. So one time, Rodman shared that when he was in Stern’s workplace in New York, the commissioner threatened to kick him out of the league for having manner an excessive amount of ink on his physique.
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“After I was doing tattoos earlier than anyone thought of doing tattoos, I used to be going to David Stern’s workplace in New York, and he stated, ‘If you happen to do any extra tattoos, I am gonna kick you out’,” Rodman told Kevin Hart in 2019. “I used to be like, ‘What?!?!’ So principally, that simply fueled the hearth proper there. I stated OK, nice, I went and acquired a tattoo that evening, after which I simply saved getting tattoos and piercings, saved doing my factor,” Rodman stated.
Stern stayed stern
After Rodman acquired extra tattoos, Stern did not punish him, however he saved his eyes on The Worm. Each little factor Rodman did, Stern was properly conscious of. It did not assist that Rodman constructed a infamous fame for himself due to how he performed and behaved.
In 1996, Stern suspended Rodman for head-butting a referee, and because of his fame, the Bulls’ large man was held out for six video games. Rodman thought that six days was unfair and blamed Stern for his bias towards him.
“I wish to speak to him head to head, head to head and I need him to look me within the eye and say ‘Dennis, you can’t do that, you can’t try this’ and I wish to put his face on the desk and say ‘What do you imply I can not do that?’ What’s the distinction between me and all people on this league?” Rodman said after studying about his suspension.
This occasion was simply one of many many episodes within the drama between Rodman and Stern. There’s lots to unpack in regards to the beef between the participant and commissioner. However for as a lot as Stern needed to manage Rodman, he by no means actually acquired one of the best of him. And for as a lot as Rodman was towards Stern, the commissioner nonetheless ended his profession in a affluent manner.