Bill Plaschke: Hall of shame is more like it for Dennis Rodman
That museum is Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.
It is not the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Yet the Worm will burrow his way into the hallowed grounds of Springfield, Mass., Friday night, entering basketball’s ultimate destination along with the likes of Chris Mullin, Artis Gilmore and Tex Winter.
Seriously. What is Rodman doing there? And he’s entering with Tex? Can you imagine? One guy who tore apart the Lakers enshrined with a guy who helped rescue them?
"I don’t know what’s more shocking," said Chris Winter, Tex’s son, to reporters. "That they didn’t put Tex in 30 years ago, or they didn’t make Dennis wait another 30 years."
Rodman won five championships, sure, but he was complementing the likes of Michael Jordan and Isiah Thomas. He won seven NBA rebounding titles and was twice voted defensive player of the year, and some would say that makes him one of the top tough guys in NBA history, but what else did he do?
He only averaged more than 10 points a game once. He was a below-average shooter and only occasional passer. Heck, even baseball’s defensive whiz Ozzie Smith entered his Hall of Fame by averaging 79 runs per season.
What Rodman contributed to the game was not as great as what he took from the game, witness his seven-week stay with the Lakers in the spring of 1999. The day after his first game, he was late for practice, and things only got uglier.
During his time here he missed practices, refused to enter games, and once even disappeared for eight days, during which time he was spotted gambling in Las Vegas. He was finally released when he was late for another practice after claiming he couldn’t find his shoes or socks.
He stole those seven weeks from Laker fans, and Friday night he will steal the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies from the other honorees. Even an introduction by Phil Jackson surely won’t stop him from steering all the attention to himself, hijacking the ceremonies with an outrageous wardrobe and behavior and speech.
Of course, maybe the Hall of Fame ceremonies will be blessed with the real Dennis Rodman. Maybe he’ll be late, or refuse to come to the lectern when his name is called or, if we’re really lucky, he won’t show up at all.
-- Bill Plaschke
Photo: Dennis Rodman with the Lakers in 1999. Credit: Los Angeles Times