Rebounder Rodman talks games, Bulls, MJ

February, 11, 2013
2/11/13
6:00
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Dennis Rodman of the Chicago Bulls and the Basketball Hall of FameAaron Davidson/WireImageDennis Rodman: Basketball Hall of Famer and ... pinball wizard? Yeah, he's a gamer.
Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman's book, "Dennis The Wild Bull," came out last Wednesday, and fans will immediately recognize the rebounder's influence. The large red bull on the cover has flowing red hair, two nose rings, a tattoo and red stubble under his chin. Plus, Dennis the bull deals with the same issues as Dennis the player.

"They'll see me, literally see me. They'll say, 'Wow, this is just like him,'" Rodman told Playbook.

Aside from Rodman’s hoops credentials and author credits, he’s also dabbled in acting (remember “Double Team” with Jean-Claude Van Damme?). So it’s no surprise he recently turned in a chuckle-worthy performance in videos he starred in to promote Hothead Games’ new app, "Big Win Basketball."

Playbook figured there was no better time to email him and ask about some his favorite moments on the court and the video game habits he acquired. The result? We now know how he got stuck with “The Worm” as his nickname.

How did you get involved with doing videos with Hothead Games?

I’ve always loved video games. My kids love video games as well, but they play on mobile. I was excited for an opportunity to connect with a mobile game that my kids would enjoy, and a basketball one at that!

Are you into video games at the moment?

As I mentioned, I played a lot of video games back in the day. Obviously, "Big Win Basketball" is great, but these days I’m constantly on the go and don’t get to check out as many games as I would like.

What is your favorite video or arcade game of all time?

Pinball! I used to spend a lot of time in the arcade playing games -- it’s how I got my nickname “The Worm." I got the name because I used to get so into pinball that my whole body would twist around like crazy. I’ve had that nickname for over 30 years now!

Did you ever get to see a video game version of yourself in a game (like "NBA Jam")?

Nothing beats the actual experience of playing alongside your team. But the great thing about video games like "Big Win Basketball" is that even though they aren’t the same as the real thing, they let people who haven’t had the chance to play feel the excitement I did on the court.

Are you still playing any basketball, even pickup games?

I limit my on-court presence these days, but as you can see from the "Big Win Basketball" "Team Building" video, I do have to show the odd office employee how it’s done once in a while.

Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman of the Chicago Bulls
Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty ImagesMichael Jordan, Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen: All they did was win.
What was your favorite team you played for?

The 95-96 Bulls. I played with the two best players I’ve ever seen in Michael [Jordan] and Scottie [Pippen]. Everyone just did their job and there was no drama, it was just go out and win every game. It was like the Beatles everywhere we went.

Tell us your best Michael Jordan anecdote.

Most people don’t know that I never really talked to Michael and never really talked to Scottie the entire time I was in Chicago. We talked on the court, but outside of that there was nothing and it didn’t really matter. All we cared about was winning that next game.

What is your favorite memory of the late Chuck Daly, who passed away nearly four years ago?

I was a simple country guy and he just accepted me for who I was. I strolled in with my cowboy hats and Levi's and Chuck accepted me like I was his son. I worked that much harder to make him smile and be proud of me, like he was the father I never really had.

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