Eric Bischoff Spoke to Dennis Rodman About Provoking Karl Malone to Hype WCW

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 20, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY, UNITED STATES:  Dennis Rodman (R) of the Chicago Bulls gets his arm caught by Karl Malone (L) of the Utah Jazz 14 June as Rodman tries for the ball during game six of the NBA Finals at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, UT. The Bulls won the game 87-86 to win their sixth NBA Championship.   AFP PHOTO/Jeff HAYNES (Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
JEFF HAYNES/Getty Images

After former Chicago Bulls star Dennis Rodman's participation in WCW was shown during ESPN's The Last Dance documentary series in recent weeks, former WCW President Eric Bischoff discussed Rodman's balancing of basketball and his brief stint in professional wrestling.

In an interview with TMZ Sports, Bischoff admitted to guiding Rodman in the direction of having a scuffle with Utah Jazz star Karl Malone in Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals:

Bischoff said:

"What I said to Dennis, not to Karl, was, 'Hey Dennis, if anything were to happen off court while there's a timeout, while there's no gameplay, if you guys happen to rough it up a little bit at the sidelines or look like you're going to and establish that intent so that the feud between Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone is real ... that wouldn't piss me off at all.' It was kind of subtle but clear."

Rodman infamously skipped practice during the 1998 NBA Finals to appear on an episode of WCW Nitro, but his foray into wrestling didn't adversely impact the Bulls, as they beat the Jazz in the Finals for the second consecutive year and won their third championship in a row.

That was indeed the last dance for the Bulls, though, as Michael Jordan retired, Scottie Pippen was traded, head coach Phil Jackson departed and Rodman was released after the season.

Rodman first got involved in wrestling at Bash at the Beach 1997 when he and Hollywood Hulk Hogan lost to Lex Luger and The Giant, but the match that most fans remember happened shortly after the 1998 NBA Finals when Hogan and Rodman beat Diamond Dallas Page and Malone at Bash at the Beach 1998.

Bischoff noted that while Malone hadn't yet agreed to do a match with WCW at the time the 1998 NBA Finals were happening, discussions had taken place, so his instructions to Rodman were his way of setting the stage for a potential match.

The match happened and is still remembered as one of the biggest attractions in the history of pro wrestling because both Rodman and Malone were huge mainstream stars at the time.


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