NBA Hall of Fame: Does Dennis Rodman Belong with the Best?

Joseph Fafinski@Joseph FafinskiCorrespondent IMarch 4, 2011

29 Apr 1998:  Dennis Rodman #91 of the Chicago Bulls gestures during a First Round Playoff Game against the New Jersey Nets at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Bulls defeated the Nets 116-101.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Dennis Rodman was named a finalist to the Basketball Hall of Fame voting a few weeks ago, and much has been made of the topic regarding his presence on the ballot.

Let's be realistic, though: Dennis Rodman is the greatest rebounder of this generation. He is also one of the biggest defensive forces the game has ever seen. So why is he not a lock in the Hall?

Was it his off-color personality? Was it the fact that he wasn't a great shooter?

In my humble opinion, Rodman—the guy who changed his hair color more than teams—belongs with the best, and regardless of if you like him or not as a person, you should support his Hall of Fame bid.

I will take a look at all the reasons Rodman, whose No. 10 jersey has been retired by the Detroit Pistons, should and shouldn't belong in the confines of Springfield's Hall.

One reason Rodman belongs in the Hall, as noted earlier, has to do with his excellent rebounding abilities that were unprecedented for someone his size.

At 6'6" and 220 pounds, Rodman had the body of Michael Jordan but the rebounding skills of Bill Russell. To think of someone his stature averaging 18.7 rebounds per game in an entire season is astonishing.

Not to mention he had other seasons when he grabbed 18.3, 17.3, 16.8 and 16.1 rebounds, on average!

In every season Rodman played more than 26 minutes per game, he averaged double figures in the rebounding department.

Take a look at the players above Rodman on the career rebounding list. Of the 20 players ahead of "The Menace" on the list, 14 are Hall of Famers and three more—Kevin Garnett, Shaquille O'Neal and Dikembe Mutombo—are on their way to being enshrined.

Since 1973, Dennis Rodman owns five of the top eight single-season rebounding averages. 

Five out of eight! 

The other three on that short list came from Elvin Hayes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Moses Malone, all of whom are Hall of Famers.

A secondary reason that supports Rodman's body of work has to do with the fact that he won five NBA Championships.

In three seasons with the Chicago Bulls, ranging from 1995 to 1998, Rodman and the crew won, you guessed it, three championships.

Many forget that Rodman was a member of the Pistons' 1989 and 1990 championship teams that included Hall of Famers Joe Dumars and Isaiah Thomas.

Only a handful of players have won more titles than "the Worm."

The third and final reason that Rodman belongs in the Hall of Fame has to do with his incredible defensive presence.

Everywhere he went, he was the backbone of the defense—Chicago included. He won the Defensive Player of the Year in consecutive seasons in 1990 and 1991 while playing for the Pistons.

He is easily regarded as one of the best defenders ever. The electricity and intensity that he brought on "D" only comes around once or twice a decade.

The only knock against Rodman's game deals with the fact that he wasn't a great scorer.

He never averaged more than 11.6 points per game and never was a shooter. In fact, he averaged only about 12 points per 48 minutes throughout his illustrious career.

This has to do with a multitude of reasons.

For one, he played with mega-superstars throughout his career, notably Dumars, Thomas, Jordan, Scottie Pippen and David Robinson. Secondly, the focal point of his game was—naturally—crashing the boards, making him always one of the last players down the court due to his hustle.

Lastly, he only shot the ball about five times per game on average. When he did shoot, he put it through the hoop at an efficient 52 percent rate.

However, consider that Bill Russell himself averaged about 15 points per and is considered a consensus top-10 player of all time among NBA experts.

Other than that, Rodman's off-the-court antics and character issues might keep him out of the Hall.

Rodman, who was rumored to be bisexual, was almost like a man possessed when playing on the hardwood. He had tattoos and piercings like no one else in the league. He regularly clashed with other players and referees and was considered by many to be the weirdest player in the sport, personality wise. He is still widely recognized as the prototype for the bizarre basketball player.

All of this aside, Dennis Rodman is still one of the greatest rebounders of all time. He also was a great defender and a hustler, someone who would always go for the loose ball when he needed to. I would even go as far as calling Ben Wallace (in his prime) a poor man's Dennis Rodman. 

That's how good Rodman was.

They say you can't win championships without defense, and "Dennis the Menace" exemplifies this statement perfectly.

The verdict: Dennis Rodman belongs in the Hall of Fame.


    Low-Cap Teams That Could Make a FA Splash

    NBA logo

    Low-Cap Teams That Could Make a FA Splash

    Dan Favale
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Bulls Expected to Wait Until 2019 for FA Splash

    Chicago Bulls logo
    Chicago Bulls

    Report: Bulls Expected to Wait Until 2019 for FA Splash

    Dan Feldman
    via ProBasketballTalk

    Steph Practiced at '100%', Questionable for Game 1

    NBA logo

    Steph Practiced at '100%', Questionable for Game 1

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    L2M: LeBron's Block Was a Goaltend

    NBA logo

    L2M: LeBron's Block Was a Goaltend

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report