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Carmelo Anthony Says He Understands Dennis Rodman Taking Vacation Mid-Season

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIIMay 20, 2020

FILE - This June 16, 1996, file photo shows Chicago Bulls' Dennis Rodman admiring the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship trophy after the Bulls defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 87-75 to clinch the 1996 NBA title, in Chicago. Beyond the outrageous outfits and tabloid tales,  Rodman was also a five-time NBA champion who won 70 percent of his games.  He gets recognition for his basketball achievements FridayAug. 12, 2011,  when he joins Dream Teamer Chris Mullin as the headline names in the 2011 Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame class. (AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser, File)
BETH A. KEISER/Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony knows what it's like to be near the center of attention in the NBA. He experienced it with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Houston Rockets.   

It's a constant circus that demands all of you at all times. So it makes sense the former Knicks star would commiserate with Dennis Rodman's need to jet off at different points during his run with the Chicago Bulls. 

As ESPN's The Last Dance made clear, when Rodman was getting close to burning out, the team had little problem letting him exercise other parts of his personality away from the court, whether that meant extended vacations or even just an hour-long trip to Las Vegas for a rock concert

Speaking to Michael Strahan on his What's In Your Glass YouTube series, Anthony gave Rodman a pass on his occasional need to escape during the season. 

"In basketball, playing an 82-game season," Anthony said, "there comes a point where it's like ... I'm not mad at Dennis."

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Both Anthony and Strahan agreed that a set-up like Rodman had wouldn't have worked if not for head coach Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan trying to understand why he had to get away at times. The season is a grind, and in the physical, hand-check era of the 1990s, playing in the paint meant subjecting your body to all kinds of damage. 

Rodman could take it as well as he could dish it, but he needed to recharge every once in a while. As Anthony noted, the Bulls allowed him to enjoy those breaks, knowing how much a fully energized Rodman would help the team win when it mattered most. 

"They allowed him to do it," Anthony said. "And also, MJ knew his personnel." 

There's little chance Rodman could get away with as much in today's NBA. Not with social media tracking the every move of players.

There's also no denying it worked for him, and Anthony had no trouble seeing why. 

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