At first, it seems like a notion as ridiculous as the Spice Girls moving into Buckingham Palace.
Imagine Dennis Rodman, all decked out in six or seven years, making his induction speech into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
It could happen.
Rodman, after all, is a seven-time NBA rebounding champion, and his streak of titles (seven) is the longest in league history. Every other player with multiple rebounding crowns (who is eligible) has been enshrined: Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Elvin Hayes. Two more are certainties once they are eligible: Hakeem Olajuwon and Moses Malone. Only two rebounding champs have not been voted into the Springfield, Mass., shrine: Maurice Stokes (1957) and Truck Robinson (1978). - He is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Rodman has been a key member of teams in both Detroit and Chicago that won multiple NBA championships.
Then again, a rather formidable case could be made against Rodman.
There's his 7.5 career scoring average, which would make him the lowest-scoring player in the Hall. Currently, Buddy Jeannette, whose career started in the 1930s, holds that distinction with a 7.7 mark.
Of course, Rodman's antics, lifestyle, appearance and problems with authority have not been high points for the league. Yet for all his disciplinary problems, it's important to note that he never has been arrested. Fines, suspensions, civil suits - sure. But by current standards, with the names of NBA players decorating police blotters, Rodman has been as harmless as he is tasteless.
Remember, too, that character issues did not prevent George Gervin or David Thompson from enshrinement, despite their admitted drug problems.
Speaking of standards, one clause related to personal conduct in the Hall's constitution states that a candidate "must not have brought irreparable harm to the game." The only other one says that a candidate must not have "besmirched" the game.
That "besmirch" part might get a little tricky for the Bulls' rebellious forward.
TV analyst and former NBA coach Jack Ramsay questions Rodman's Hall-worthiness. "Hall of Fame players generally are complete players," Ramsay said. "Rodman is a great rebounder, but has no offensive game to speak of. And while it's true that great offensive players get in without being great defenders, I don't think he would merit enough consideration."
Not everyone agrees.
Many believe that Rodman, who has averaged 18.7, 18.3, 17.3 and 16.8 rebounds the last four seasons, deserves a place next to Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell as one of the greatest rebounders of all time. An informal SI poll of NBA players, coaches, executives and broadcasters placed Chamberlain at No. 1, Rodman No. 2 and Russell No. 3--with esteemed board men Malone, Paul Silas, Wes Unseld, Charles Barkley, Nate Thurmond, Bob Pettit and Jerry Lucas rounding out the alltime Top 10.
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