Dennis "The Worm" Rodman Would Get My Hall of Fame Vote

Robert Kleeman@@RobertKleemanSenior Analyst IDecember 2, 2009

LAS VEGAS - MAY 16:  Former NBA player Dennis Rodman and Comedian Carrot Top celebrate at Hawaiian Tropic Zone's 'Torrid' Nightclub inside the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino on May 16, 2008 in Las Vegas.  (Photo by Jacob Andrzejczak/Getty Images for Hawaiian Tropic Zone)
Jacob Andrzejczak/Getty Images

Forget the wedding dress.

His wacky hairdos.

The above photograph with Carrot Top.

The latter years of his career in which he put himself above the game.

That he sometimes passed up good shots to pad his rebounding stats.

His half-embarrassing, half-scary stints on reality shows "The Apprentice" and "The Mole."

That dreadful movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme.

"The Rodman World Tour," as pompous and unnecessary a TV show as there ever was.

The aborted suicide attempt in 1993.

His strange affair with Madonna.

His botched wrestling career.

The experiment with the Brighton Bears, a UK basketball team.

Bubba Wells and the Hack-a-Rodman.

His 7.3 career PPG average.

Forget all of that, difficult as it may be to do so. You can't talk me out of this one.

When Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen head to Springfield, Ill. next fall to give Hall of Fame induction speeches, Dennis Rodman should join them on stage.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

He might even wear woman's clothing. His choice of apparel might be more memorable than whatever comes out of his mouth, and whatever comes out of his mouth may cause ESPN censors to faint from exhaustion.

He might say some not-so-nice things about NBA Commissioner David Stern. The two were not best buds, and although Rodman says he has worked things out with the longest-tenured leader in professional sports, you cannot trust his word anymore than you can rely on a housefly to build a patio.

Off the court, Rodman was a circus freak, an alcoholic, an unintentional stand-up comedian, and an entertainer all rolled into one mortifying being.

I'm still not sure he's human or that he was born on planet Earth.

The admission price to his carnival was always free, so long as attendees agreed not to complain about his absurd shenanigans.

Stern complained a lot, and rightfully so.

Rodman could tell Mark Cuban a thing or two about a lighter wallet.

On the court, however, Rodman was the best rebounder and most versatile defender of his generation, bar none.

Listed at 6'8", but closer to 6'7", he crashed the boards like a seven-footer. He changed big games defensively, like Bill Russell without the height advantage.

Most importantly, he played an integral role on five champions. He put the "bad" in the "Bad Boy" Detroit Pistons before helping Michael Jordan win three consecutive titles from 1996 to 1998 with the Chicago Bulls.

If the Hall has honored numerous players who only competed on offense, why shouldn't it celebrate a player who excelled on the end of the floor where teams win championships?

He was the kind of winner with the Pistons and Bulls that Ron Artest hopes to be with the Los Angeles Lakers.

He may have been unreliable and careless off the court, but he was fiercely competitive on it.

Unlike Robert Horry, who boasts a similar career scoring average, Rodman showed up for regular season games.

I recently watched a replay of Game Six of the 1996 NBA Finals. Rodman's 19 rebounds and brutish interior defense changed the complexion of that championship clincher.

His impact was undeniable in so many playoff contests.

I have never subscribed to the idea that the Bulls' title teams would have struggled to defeat the 1980s elite.

The playoff squads in the 1990s played far superior defense and their offenses were usually just as precise.

No one should compare the 1980s Jordan to the dominant champion who hoisted six Larry O'Brien trophies.

He was a much better player with a much better supporting cast in 1996 than in 1987.

Why are Lakers fans and 1980s maniacs the only ones to dismiss 1990s basketball as "overrated?"

The point here is that Rodman competed against bigs as tough as what the elite rebounders and defenders faced in the 1970s and 1980s.

He frustrated opponents to no end. He took the phrase "getting under a player's skin" to a new level.

He was a vampire long before "Twilight" and "True Blood" became pop culture sensations. Instead of blood, he sucked on a player's preferences.

Rodman took away whatever a foe wanted to do and made him do the opposite.

I expect some nasty comments below, perhaps some personal attacks. Call me stupid, brainless, anything you want.

This is my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

If Pippen and Malone are shoo-in selections, Rodman will be as divisive as any candidate in the Hall's history.

His candidacy should be debated.

In my book, though, Springfield enshrinement is about on-court performance not a player's personal life.

From the opening tip of his pro and college careers to the final buzzer of Chicago's second three-peat, he was a relentless winner and a one-of-a-kind specimen.

I don't serve on the Hall's selection panel, but if I did, Rodman would get my vote.

I want to see that induction speech, too.