Rodman's Advantage

Phil Jackson doesn't deny that Rodman's obsession with rebounds sometimes is, as he puts it, "an obstruction to the team." When the Bulls are on defense, Jackson has seen Rodman leave his man on one side of the basket and move over to the other side of the rim because the rebound was more likely to go in that direction. "There might be a 65 percent chance the ball will go to Dennis's side, but that other 35 percent will mean a layup for his man," Jackson says.

And there are those who believe that part of the reason for Rodman's rebounding success is that he is allowed the luxury of concentrating almost solely on that area. "He's a great rebounder, but he's also a very one-dimensional player," says Unseld, now the Washington Bullets' executive vice president. "I believe there are other players, like [the Suns'] Charles Barkley, who could put up similar numbers if they played the same role Rodman does."

That may be true, but it's hard to imagine any other player exceeding the amount of thought Rodman puts into his specialty. As he watches the tape in the locker room, he sees himself grabbing or contesting almost every rebound. But during one sequence several shots in a row bounce far away from him in another direction. "I was guessing wrong there," he says. "But you watch. The next rebound is mine."

"Dennis can adjust his body in the air to get to a ball. The onlyother player I've seen who could do that was Russell.""Like every successful rebounder, Rodman has tricks he uses togain an advantage.""Take somebody like Steve Kerr. He has a high arc on his shots,so I know his rebounds are going to be pretty close to the rim.""I rebound with a little flair, a little something extra. Rebounding is how I express myself on the floor.

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