5 things we learned from Episodes 3 and 4 of ‘The Last Dance’

Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport
Mandatory Credit: Andy Lyons /Allsport /
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The Last Dance
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1. The story behind Rodman’s Vegas trip

One of the most impressive things about Phil Jackson and the Bulls is how they kept Rodman reined in but also allowed him the freedom to be himself, especially off the court.

“Dennis was bizarre, but I think what made it work was Phil and Michael’s understanding that to get the most out of him on the court, you had to give him some rope,” Steve Kerr explained. “And they gave him a lot of rope.”


One such instance came at a critical juncture during the 1997-98 season, when Scottie Pippen finally returned to action. Rodman, who had gotten used to being Jordan’s righthand man, went off the deep end when Pippen’s return made him the third banana again. He decided he needed to take some time to clear his head. We’ll let Jordan’s account speak for itself:

"“When Scottie was out, Dennis was a model citizen, to a point where it was driving him f**king insane. So when Scottie came back, Dennis wanted to take a vacation. I come to practice, Phil calls me and says, ‘Look, Dennis wants to tell you something.’ And when Dennis wants to tell me something, I knew it’s not something that I f**king wanna hear. “So Dennis says, ‘I need a vacation.’ And I look at Phil and say, ‘Vacation? Phil, what do you mean, vacation?’ He says, ‘He needs a vacation. He needs some time off to let loose.’ I said, ‘Look Phil, lemme tell you something, man. If anybody need a f**kin’ vacation, I need a vacation.’ We look at Dennis and said, ‘Dennis, what are you gonna do?’ He says, ‘Well, I need to go to Vegas.’ “‘Phil, you let this dude go to vacation, we’re not gonna see him. You let him go to Vegas, we’re definitely not gonna see him.’ So he looks at Dennis and says, ‘Dennis, well, can your vacation be like 48 hours?’ And Dennis is like, ‘I’ve got no other choice, I’ll take whatever you can give me, I’ll take the 48 hours.’ ‘Forty-eight hours. You’ve got 48 hours, Dennis.’ And I’m looking at Phil like, ‘You ain’t gonna get that dude back in 48 hours. I don’t care what you say, he’s done. Mmkay. Forty-eight hours.’ He leaves that room, goes straight to the airport, boom. We don’t hear or see Dennis for 48 hours.”"

So where did Rodman go?

“I went to f**kin’ Vegas,” he laughs.


It’s hard to tell which part of all this story is richer: Rodman getting his way, the footage of him partying in Vegas, him slyly saying “Kamikaze” into the camera as he sips from a Gatorade cup in the Bulls’ weight room, the story about Jordan having to pull Rodman out of bed while his girlfriend at the time, Carmen Electra, hid behind the couch, or Rodman kicking everyone’s ass in Indian runs during his first practice back.

To be honest, all of it is pure gold, and it perfectly captures how Rodman could be a head case but was ultimately reliable because the Bulls knew how to manage that give-and-take relationship.

Next. 5 best quotes from Episodes 3-4 of The Last Dance. dark