It’s hard to pick just one story about Dennis Rodman to encapsulate his eccentric personality that was a hallmark of the Chicago Bulls in the late 1990s, but there’s one that comes close to serving well in that role. It involves Rodman, his then-girlfriend Carmen Electra, the city of Las Vegas and, of course, Michael Jordan.
In the middle of the 1997-98 season, Rodman had asked Bulls coach Phil Jackson for a vacation in the middle of the season. The forward was given 48 hours to go to Vegas and let off some steam. This was something that Jordan had warned his coach against, saying that if Jackson let The Worm go to Sin City, he wouldn’t make it back to the team on time. As Electra recounts the period, it turns out that Jordan might have had a point.
“I do remember being in Vegas with [Dennis]. It was on,” Electra said. “The party was starting right away. One thing about Dennis, he had to escape. He liked to go out. He liked to go to clubs. We’d go to his favorite restaurant. Then we’d go to a nightclub. Then we’d go to after hours. It didn’t stop. It was definitely an occupational hazard to be Dennis’s girlfriend. He was wild.
“But to be honest, I didn’t realize what the team’s schedule was,” she continued. “I didn’t know he took a detour.”
Realizing that Rodman was back from Vegas and had not made his way back to the team, the Bulls tasked Jordan with getting arguably their best defensive player back with everyone else. Rodman lived across the street from the United Center, and unfortunately for Electra, M.J. came at a rather inopportune time.
“There’s a knock on the door. It’s Michael Jordan,” she said. “And I hid. I didn’t want him to see me like that. So I’m just like hiding behind the couch with covers on me.”
The rest is history: Rodman rejoined the team, the Bulls went on to win their second consecutive three-peat.
What an incredibly 90s story.