Spurs news: Dennis Rodman says Gregg Popovich ‘hated me’
In 14 NBA seasons, Dennis Rodman established himself as one of the greatest defenders and rebounders in league history. Six years ago, the Detroit Pistons retired his No. 10 jersey and he was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
During Rodman’s Hall of Fame career, he played for five different teams including the Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks. In his two-year stint with the Spurs, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year revealed head coach Gregg Popovich (who was the team’s general manager) ‘hated’ him according to Tim Griffin of My San Antonio:
“The city kind of embraced me, but what’s his name, Popovich, he hated me,” Rodman said. “He hated my guts because I wasn’t a bible guy. They looked at me like I was the devil.”
Before getting traded to Chicago for Will Perdue, Rodman felt he was a huge part of San Antonio’s success:
“I said my god,” Rodman said. “Am I the same guy that helped get David Robinson a scoring title and MVP? Am I the same guy that averaged 19.3 rebounds per game for you. And I the same guy we won 68 damn games? Am I that same guy, but you guys don’t like me?” Rodman said.
While it was considered a gamble at the time, the trade ended up working out for both Rodman and the Bulls. In three seasons, the power forward led the league in rebounding (14.9, 16.1, and 15.0) as they won three consecutive championships led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
As Rodman has been retired since 2006, Popovich is still with the Spurs and is considered one of the greatest head coaches in all of sports. Despite losing David Robinson and Tim Duncan to retirement, the Spurs have won at least 50 games in 18 consecutive seasons.