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The Roar


Top ten Dennis Rodman comparisons in NBA history

Draymond Green has been suspended for Game 5 of the NBA finals. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Roar Guru
27th April, 2020

Who reminds you of Dennis Rodman? To me Rodman was a once in a lifetime talent, an enigma that will never be repeated again. So I created the best ten Dennis Rodman comparisons, I could think of.

10. Anthony Mason
Why is a guy who averaged a career ten points and eight rebounds on this list? Because aside from rebounding, the similarities between the two are surreal. Mason was an undersized power forward with insane agility and heart. He was constantly moved from team to team until he was found by a Knicks scout who saw Mason out-working everybody.

When Pat Riley – the Knicks coach – gave him a shot on the summer league team, he grabbed a rebound, dribbled the length of the floor and dunked on a bigger man. From that moment on he played on the tough Knicks teams from the 90s. Was a great teammate and won sixth man of the year honours in 1995 and an all star in 2001.

9. Kevin Willis
Rodman seemed to only get better with age, as at 36 he was averaging 15 boards a night. Well Kevin Willis played 21 seasons in the space of 1985 to 2007 and was only 53 rebounds shy of passing Dennis all time. One of fifteen players in NBA history with over 16,000 career points and 11,000 career rebounds.

He was instead an oversized power forward, who received all NBA third team honours in 1992 alongside, you guessed it: Dennis Rodman. The pair led the league in rebounding, Rodman first and Willis second that year. And Willis became an all star, averaging 18.3 points and 15.5 rebounds.

8. Kermit Washington
Washington is most infamously known as the Laker who punched a running, defenceless Rudy Tomjanovich in the face during a 1977 scuffle. You know it had to be bad when it’s forever known as ‘the punch’. He also made the news recently that he wants to be released from prison because of fear of Corona.

Why is he in prison? Just for false tax returns and identity theft related to a charity fraud scheme. The all star power forward was always on good teams but just never won a championship.

Drafted to the champion Lakers, he left LA three years before they won and joined Portland three years after they won. He was also a 2x NCAA rebounding leader and 2x All NBA defensive second team.

7. Zach Randolph
Both Rodman and Randolph averaged exactly 1.8 assists and 0.7 steals for their career. And while Randolph lacked Rodman’s natural athleticism and was a more dependent scorer, they both dominated through brute strength in the low post. The two 2x all stars also had their fair share of conflict away from the court.


Randolph with weed charges and Rodman with police coming to his house over 70 times for noise violations. Both power forwards were known to party and were on two of the most controversial teams in NBA history; the Portland Jail Blazers and the Bad Boy Pistons.

6. Paul Silas
Rodman was known as the third or fourth most important player on great teams where he would never be relied on to score. Just to defend, grab boards and intimidate any trash talkers or hard hitters looking at the number one guy.

Well this explains Paul Silas’ career perfectly. He was a career less than 10 points a game scorer and would gather around 12 rebounds a game for championship teams. Silas won two championships for the John Havlicek Celtics in the 70s and one for the Dennis Johnson Sonics.

And in each stop, he was used as a specialist, told to dominate the glass and defend the best player, exactly like Rodman. Both listed as 6’7 power forwards, Silas was a 5x all defensive team to Rodman’s 9. And one of the first masters of a rebounding defender who did not need to score.

5. Charles Oakley
Other than suffocating defence, the two were uniquely remembered for their aggressive behaviour. Which in a way led to underrate just how insanely talented and successful they were on the court.

But when similar styled athletes play in the same era, they are bound to attract each other leading to some entertaining moments. The two have jawed at each other on more than one occasion and Rodman even swatted Oakley’s shot once. They even argued on twitter.

No… seriously, they beefed over LeBron James and a wedding dress. Oakley was Michael Jordan’s brute when he first came in the league and Rodman was the brute when he was leaving the league. Rodman was all defensive first team from 1989-93 and 1995-96. The year he missed out, Oakley was selected.

4. Bill Russell
Okay, so maybe Rodman did not have quite the career Russell had (11 Champ, 5x MVP), but Russell never averaged 19 points or more a game. Am I the only one who thought Russell would have at least had one 20 point season? He is after all on everyone’s top ten greatest players of all time list.


Instead Russell built his legacy by being a perineal rebounder, averaging 22.5 rebounds for his career. He is also thought to be the one of, if not the best defender to ever step foot on the court. Luckily for Russell, he surrounded himself with great players and built a dynasty that cemented his legacy. I wonder how people in the 60s would have reacted to a man like Dennis Rodman.

3. Charles Barkley

Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley

Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley (AP Photo/Brian K. Diggs)

Charles Barkley was one of the many players Rodman went at constantly. In fact, Barkley had his fair few scuffles back in those 90s as well. Both undersized power forwards, they backed down to no one, especially against Shaquille O’Neal. They were on a short list of players that height to lead the league in rebounding.

In fact, most don’t know that Barkley was smaller than Rodman at only 6’6. Barkley was remembered for spitting on a girl in the stands under the basket while Rodman was remembered for kicking a camera man under the basket.

With various fines and legal troubles mixed with falling for a conwoman’s financial scam, Rodman lost most of his money once he retired just like how the Chuckster lost most of his money gambling. Although both were incredibly talented.

2. Draymond Green
What makes Rodman stand out on the court – other than the theatrics – is that he can dominate a game without scoring. Rodman was never burdened for scoring although Draymond Green is expected to hit threes and get the occasional triple double.

Other than that, their games are incredibly similar. Both are the third most important players on championship teams and would both take bullets for their teammates. Both are undersized power forwards who are gritty, gifted defenders.


Both have a short fuse and leave their emotions on their sleeves. Rodman defies expectation by leading the league in rebounding. Green defies expectation by winning DPOY on the basis of his ability to guard every position as a second round draft pick. Just imagine what would happen if these two faced in the playoffs…

Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green

Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

1. Ben Wallace
No one mirrors Rodman’s game more than Wallace. No one. Wallace and Rodman were two low post legends regarded for being the best defenders of their era. They combined for six Defensive Player of The Year awards and nine Total Rebounds Champ awards.

Both were tiny power forwards that scared the biggest players on the court. And both bounced from team to team contributing little on offense while winning championships for the Detroit Pistons. It’s honestly harder to think of ways these two differentiate rather than resemble.

Because other than hair styles, these two champions were nearly identical. Wallace was the better defender and Rodman was the better rounder, but I couldn’t tell you which one best represented the team of Detroit better.