The 90s Chicago Bulls were a staple in NBA basketball.
Led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the Bulls won six championships. Horace Grant was the starting power forward during the Bulls’ first three-peat.
Dennis Rodman started at the four during the Bulls’ second three-peat.
During a recent interview on the Scoop B Radio Podcast with hoops historian, Roland Lazenby, I learned that MJ and Pippen didn’t get along with Rodman during the 80s and 90s.
For those keeping score at home: Rodman was a member of the 90s Pistons teams led by Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars.
Lazenby who wrote Bull Run! The Story of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, The Long Strange Ride of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and a myriad of other potent books broke it all down.
Check out our Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: How did Tex Winter earn Michael Jordan’s respect?
Roland Lazenby: First of all, Michael is a tough customer. I’m not sure if he ever fully did. It was in ’97. Tex and I were sitting before a game and we were sitting in Michael’s locker, because he wouldn’t get there – it just wasn’t used early. And we’re sitting in the locker room talking about something, and Michael walked in and he had the box from the shoes. And Tex loved to collect the shoeboxes, he really loved it – he was like, if you left a little bit of meat on the bone at a steak dinner he would finish it for you. Just like the anecdote about the starting out with him filling out the forms to Publisher’s Clearinghouse [laughs]…Tex never got past that Depression Era. His background as a poor kid ya know? And so he loved those shoeboxes of Jordan’s. He would keep all of his investment documents – you know the ones they mail you every month or quarter, and Tex kept track of EVERY penny he ever made. And so he would put all of his stuff in Jordan’s shoeboxes. And we were sitting in Jordan’s dressing stall just running our mouths one night before a game and Michael walks in and looks over and you can tell he was just – pissed that we were sitting there in his locker. He has the shoebox in his hand, he doesn’t want to have to tell us to get the hell out of his locker so he walks over and he looks at Tex, and says, “Do you want the shoebox?” and Tex said, “Yes I want it.” And Michael looked at the shoebox in his hand, turned it over looked at and threw it on the floor [laughs]…I was astounded! I’m like these guys have a lot of animosity towards each other [laughs]…but you know Tex was ALWAYS a truth teller. And Michael knew that for everybody there trying to kiss your hiney, they were the truth tellers and they were the ones that were really important. So it was interesting between those two. But Tex was very important and he had ways and things that he wanted them done, he used to infuriate Jordan by telling him that he didn’t know how to throw a proper chest pass. And Tex invented the toss back machine, it’s like on a frame and the ball comes back at you. That’s how you work on passing. Dennis Rodman idolized Tex. He worshipped Tex. To see him work on that toss back machine just throwing those passes…but it’s another point about those Bulls teams – you know they were the ELITE team in the world but they would – they would come into practice and work the fundamentals that those teams went through – those guys would do the drills with things like chest passes. Look you can’t get a 14 year old youth team to do those daggone drills. To make them do all these different passes, and all that different footwork and stuff and Scottie and Michael were all over it. They were just fierce workers. Somewhere along the line they had a really deep respect. And it started with Michael. He had such a deep respect for the position of Coach. So they worked so hard so nobody was going to come on that team who wasn’t going to fall in line with that. And Tex was on the Dream Team with Pippen and Jordan and you know, they had just played against Clyde Drexler but then they were on the team with him and they realized just what an amazing athlete Clyde Drexler was. And Pippen made a remark aloud on the Dream Team bus, “Could you imagine what Drexler would have been if he had worked just a year with Tex Winter?”…there was a work ethic and that’s how Rodman – and those guys hated each other…
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Who, Rodman and Tex Winter?
Roland Lazenby: Rodman. Jordan and Pippen had such wars when Rodman was with the Pistons. The thing that bonded them, there was just not a lot of bs when it came to practice. And probably nobody studied more tape than Rodman.