Even at the age of 50, Dennis Rodman doesn’t pull any punches.
Rodman, the freshly minted member of the Basketball Hall of Fame and one of the best rebounders, not to mention defenders, of all time was at Woodbine Raceway Thursday as the drawmaster for Sunday’s Pattison Canadian International.
As is his custom, the flamboyant Rodman didn’t leave quietly suggesting to reporters, when asked about the current NBA lockout, that NBA players should just take whatever the owners offer and get back to work.
“I just think that ... the players should bow down,” Rodman said. “They should bow down. In 1999 we (were locked out) and we missed half the season. The owners bowed down then. They gave the players everything. I think the players should do the same thing for the owners because today most of these teams are losing money. It’s not the players’ fault. It’s the owners’ fault. I think they should give a little bit and move on.”
Rodman insists he’s not taking the owners’ side in all of this but it’s apparent he doesn’t believe today’s NBA player deserves the kind of money he is getting.
“I don’t think they work that hard because most of the players don’t give a damn about the game. They want the money. I’m not taking the owners’ side, I just think the players should look at themselves. ‘OK, I’m making $16-million or $17-million a year but what have I accomplished?’ Most of the players haven’t accomplished anything. That’s what you have to look at.”
All that said, it’s a pretty safe bet Rodman won’t be receiving Christmas cards from Billy Hunter or any other current NBA players.
But that is Rodman in a nutshell: No filter, no regrets, no disguised agenda.
What Rodman knows about labour negotiations or horse racing for that matter, you could probably stuff inside a referee’s whistle and still have room left over, but when it comes to the game in general and rebounding in particular Rodman speaks from a position of authority.
Informed there was a certain 7-footer who plays in Toronto who is averaging just 4.9 rebounds per game, Rodman initially responded with a “that’s sad” comment.
But as far as he’s concerned there is nothing Andrea Bargnani has to learn, no technique he has to master to get those numbers up so they aren’t so “sad” looking.
As far as Rodman is concerned all he has to do is make the effort to rebound.
“It’s a mindset,” Rodman said of rebounding. “If you want to do it, you can do it. I mean I was only 6-foot-6 and 220 and playing against guys 7-foot, 280 or 290 pounds. It’s up to you if you want to go do it. If you want the money, that’s cool but it’s all about the love of the game. It’s more effort to go get the ball.”
Again Rodman does not speak this way to be critical of Bargnani or any other 7-footer who chooses not to rebound. It’s merely his opinion and if it upsets others then it does. Rodman has never worried about what others think of him and that hasn’t changed in retirement.