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Category → Pistons History

The All-Also Rans: Gerald Glass and Isiah Thomas will always have one iconic connection

In case you haven’t noticed, although I’m sure you have, this has been a pretty quiet off-season for the Pistons since the draft. So, in the spirit of having something (anything) to write about, I’m going to spend the next two weeks profiling some of my favorite Pistons who never made much impact on the team despite the fact that I irrationally expected great things from them.

Gerald Glass joined the Pistons when the Bad Boys were at the end of their run, the roster was quickly aging and the team was trying to retool its supporting cast around the few mainstays — Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman and Bill Laimbeer — who remained. In November 1992, fresh off a first round playoff loss to the New York Knicks that featured a few new ill-fitting veterans — Brad Sellers, Orlando Woolridge and Darrell Walker — surrounding  the core guys, the team seemed to realize it needed to infuse some young, rotation-caliber talent. Acquiring Gerald Glass from the Minnesota Timberwolves was part of that strategy.

The Pistons sent Sellers, who was a disappointment in his lone season as a Piston, and point guard Lance Blanks, a former late first round pick of the team who fell just a bit short of being the heir apparent to Thomas as the PG of the future, to the Timberwolves for Glass and Mark Randall, both former first round picks.

Randall’s stats didn’t quite measure up to his phenomenal mullet, so I didn’t exactly get excited that he would be a Piston. But Glass, on the other hand, was an occasionally dynamic wing. A young, athletic, 6-foot-5 slasher, he was a different type of guard than anyone the Pistons had on the roster at the time, and it seemed like he’d definitely find a role.

In just two seasons at Ole Miss, he established himself as one of the top scorers in that school’s history and was eventually named to the school’s All-Century Team. When the Pistons traded for him, Glass was coming off a second season in the NBA where he averaged 11.5 points per game on 44 percent shooting in just 24 minutes per game for the T-Wolves. In a three-game stretch in December of his rookie season, Glass scored 27, 24 and 32 points off the bench in consecutive games for Minnesota. He wasn’t much of a shooter (24 percent from three for his career) or a free throw shooter (64 percent for his career), but he’d certainly shown enough promise when the Pistons acquired him to get excited. Plus, Gerald Glass has to be one of the all-time great NBA names.

Glass’s Pistons tenure had its moments, too. He had 16 points and 6 rebounds off the bench in his second game as a Piston. He scored 20 in a start in place of Joe Dumars in his fifth game. He averaged 16.3 points per game on 61 percent shooting in a three-game stretch in January. Overall, he averaged 5.3 points and 2.5 rebounds in just 13.9 minutes per game as a Piston and probably had more sustained stretches of minimal contributions as the norm moreso than the bright spots I pointed out above. The Pistons didn’t re-sign Glass after the season. He went on to play overseas for a couple of seasons, had another brief NBA audition with New Jersey and Charlotte during the 1995-96 season and then finished his career overseas.

But, as that video clip above attests, he was part of an iconic Isiah Thomas play, one of the last Isiah made in his final injury-plagued seasons as a Piston. Truth be told, Glass didn’t do much of the work on that play. Isiah got the bounce through traffic (after getting a fantastic outlet pass from Bill Laimbeer), got it high enough so that it could be finished with a dunk and actually, it looked like the ball would’ve came damn close to going through the basket or at least hitting rim by itself if no one touched it. But credit where it’s due: someone had to put the finishing touches on that play. It wasn’t Glass’s best dunk, but it was a fantastic play and the fact that Thomas was the one orchestrating it makes it an enduring one in Pistons history, one that Glass will always be attached to.

Clyde Drexler perfectly explains why Isiah Thomas’ Dream Team snub still resonates

I’ll have a few posts up this weekend about “Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever,” Jack McCallum’s new book. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review.

Jack McCallum’s “Dream Team”:

So why does he think Isiah wasn’t on the team?

“I don’t think Jordan wanted to play with Isiah,” Drexler answers. “Two championships in a row, always an All-Star. And Isiah can’t make it?

“I didn’t like that. It’s not the players’ choice. It’s who’s supposed to be there. If you don’t like me, I don’t give a fuck. We’re competitors. You’re not supposed to like me. But when one player has the ability to leave another player off, we’ve lost control of the system.

“The one thing in sports that’s been important to me is integrity. If someone is good, no matter what, I am never going to say he’s not. If you’re good, you’re good.

Sports are not a perfect meritocracy, but at least in appearance – and maybe even reality – they come closer than any other area of our society. It doesn’t matter if you’re white or black, rich or poor. If you’re better than your opponent, you’ll have a chance to prove it. At least, that’s the idea.

Maybe Isiah Thomas was better than John Stockton in 1992. Maybe he wasn’t. More than I believe Stockton deserved to make the team ahead of Isiah, I believe it’s debatable.

But that debate never occurred because Michael Jordan didn’t want to play with Thomas.

Somebody had to be the best player left off the Dream Team, and that was Thomas. Alone, that doesn’t warrant outrage and controversy that has lasted two decades and will burn much longer.

But because it wasn’t a fair fight, our sense of right and wrong, especially in the realm of sports, feels violated. Drexler’s explanation is on point.

Isiah’s snub wasn’t that he didn’t make the Dream Team. His snub was that he didn’t have a fair chance.

Isiah Thomas didn’t blame John Stockton for Dream Team snub

I’ll have a few posts up this weekend about “Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever,” Jack McCallum’s new book. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review.

When his Dream Team controversy resurfaced this year, Isiah Thomas took the high road when discussing his exclusion from the squad. He did the same thing 20 years ago, too. Jack McCallum’s “Dream Team”:

Perhaps because Stockton was so sensitive to the Isiah issue, and because he also respected him as a player, Stockton never said anything remotely negative about Thomas. (Then again, Mostly Silent John never said that much anyway. And Thomas, for his part, never hung Stockton out to dry. There is no doubt that Isiah considered himself the superior player, but he never denigrated the Jazz point guard, and after the Dream Team business had finished, Isiah placed a phone call to Jack and Dan’s Bar and Grill in Spokane and asked to speak to the owner.

“I just want to let you know, Mr. Stockton,” Isiah said to John’s father, Jack, “that anything I had to say about the Dram Team had nothing to do with your son. he’s a great player.”

Neither Stockton nor his father ever forgot that call.

Pistons’ Pete Skorich provided view into ‘The Greatest Game Nobody Ever Saw’

I’ll have a few posts up this weekend about “Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever,” Jack McCallum’s new book. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review.

In “Dream Team,” Jack McCallum provides a lengthy rundown of what he dubbed “The Greatest Game Nobody Ever Saw,” a pre-Olympic scrimmage between the American players:

By breakfast this morning Daly had decided that his team had better beat itself up a little bit. The Dream Team had scrimmaged several times before this fateful day, a couple of the games ending in a diplomatic tie as Daly refused to allow overtime. He normally tried to divvy up the teams by conference, but on this day Drexler was nursing a minor injury and Stockton was still recovering from a fractured right fibula he had suffered in the Olympic qualifying tournament.

So with two fewer Western players than Eastern players, and only two true guards (Magic and Jordan), Daly went with Magic, Barkley, Robinson, Chris Mullin and Laettner on the Blue Team against Jordan, Malone, Ewing, Pippen and Bird on the White.

Whatever the result, there would be few to bear witness. The gym was all but locked down. The media were allowed in for only the last part of practice. Officials from USA Basketball even kicked out the NBA PR people and videographers from NBA Entertainment.

Play by play, McCallum analyzes the scrimmage. So how did he get the details?

A single cameraman, Pete Skorich, who was Chuck Daly’s guy with the Pistons, recorded the day. It was a closed universe, a secret little world, when ten of the best basketball players in the world began going at each other.

Isiah Thomas’ intelligence underrated, but Larry Bird was probably smarter

I’ll have a few posts up this weekend about “Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever,” Jack McCallum’s new book. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review.

My opinion that John Stockton deserved to make the Dream Team ahead of Isiah Thomas has nothing to do with either player’s intelligence. Both rank among the smartest players of all-time, though most would probably give the edge to Stockton.

That’s unfortunate.

It’s certainly justifiable to give the advantage in intelligence to either player. They’re close. But I suspect Stockton would garner more support because he’s white and Thomas is black. Race certainly appeared to be a factor when Jack McCallum conducted a poll for Sports Illustrated during the 1991-92 season:

Coaches and general managers were asked a difficult question in this week’s poll: Who is the league’s smartest player? In an extremely close race Larry Bird of the Celtics collected 10 votes and Jazz point guard John Stockton got 8.5. (Rocket coach Don Chaney split his ballot between Stockton and point guard Isiah Thomas of the Pistons.) Forward Chris Mullin of the Warriors and guard Jeff Hornacek of the Suns got two votes each, Thomas got 1.5, and Cav point guard Mark Price got one.

In “Dream Team,” McCallum elaborates on the fact that four white players led the voting:

Racist? I can’t say that. But I never saw any evidence that Thomas was not as smart a player as, say, Stockton, and that’s a compliment to both of them. One caveat: several GMs and coaches say that they would’ve voted for Magic, an African-American, had he been active during the season. But then, I never saw any evidence that Thomas was not as smart a player as Magic, either.

The most conclusive case that I can offer that Bird may stand alone at the top of the list of heady players comes from former Pistons player Laimbeer. Laimbeer does not like Bird and the feeling is mutual. But not long ago Laimbeer told me: Let’s face it, it would be hard to find a smarter player than Bird.”

Thomas has a legitimate grievance about falling behind Stockton in the poll, but if Bill Laimbeer said Bird was the smartest player, Bird was probably the smartest player.

Michael Jordan’s Nike-Reebok stunt overshadowed Chuck Daly’s proud moment during 1992 medal ceremony

I’ll have a few posts up this weekend about “Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever,” Jack McCallum’s new book. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review.

Nike-man Michael Jordan draping an American flag over his Reebok logo was the defining moment of the Dream Team’s gold-medal ceremony, but lost in the stunt was a nice moment for Chuck Daly. McCallum’s “Dream Team”:

Several of the Dreamers beckoned for Daly and his assistants to join them on the podium. They had grown quite close to the staff over the weeks together and had universal respect for Daly. They loved his staccato speech, his sweat-only-the-big-stuff philosophy, his command of the game, and his habit of occasionally touching up his hair and smoothing his collar ever so subtly, even in the heat of the game. “Every time I went out on the floor,” Malone said years later, “I’d look back and there would be Coach Daly doing all this . . .” Malone mimicked a man grooming. “Everything had to be perfect.”

True to fashion, Daly and his assistants demurred, players-first guys to the end. From the press area, I wanted to scream: Chuck, get up there! You’ll be coaching the New Jersey Nets soon! Enjoy this! But he was enjoying it, as Wilkens later made clear. “Chuck grabbed my arm and just held on, and I looked over and there was a tear coming out of Chuck’s eye. That said it all for me.”

Isiah Thomas’ Dream Team exclusion due to Michael Jordan, timing

I’ll have a few posts up this weekend about “Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever,” Jack McCallum’s new book. Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review.

Why didn’t Isiah Thomas make the Dream Team? Jack McCallum and Bill Laimbeer, relayed by McCallum, had two different answers.

“It would have been very interesting to see if this happened the way it went if the team was picked back in 1989 or 1990, when the Pistons were the king of the league and Isiah was the king of the backcourt,” McCallum recalled Laimbeer saying. “OK, what we would we have done then? How much would the committee have been able to not select Isiah?”

“To me, it’s the most complicated thing in the world, although it’s the most simple,” McCallum said. “And that was, in my opinion, Michael Jordan did not want to play with Isiah Thomas. He let that be known obliquely, implicitly or just said it.”

I think they’re both right.

Personally, I thought John Stockton deserved to make the team over Isiah, though admittedly, it’s debatable. But that’s the point. If Isiah were a lock based on ability in 1991, maybe Jordan couldn’t have kept him off the team. But because Thomas and Stockton were at least close to a tossup, Jordan could exert his influence and wedge Thomas out.

If the team were selected in 1990 for the FIBA World Championship in Argentina, as Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus imagined, Isiah might have made it. At that point, Isiah was clearly better than Stockton. Jordan broke a near tie in 1992. That doesn’t mean he could have kept a clearly better off the team in 1990.

Of course, many don’t see Stockton and Thomas as near equals at the time of selection.

“I thought Isiah Thomas deserved to be on the team,” McCallum said.

And he sort of wrote that in 1991:

Stockton, who has led the NBA four straight years in assists, is a brilliant quarterback, but he simply does not belong on the Olympic team ahead of Thomas.

But McCallum, when picking his Dream Team before the actual squad was selected, chose neither Thomas nor Stockton. McCallum actually chose Joe Dumars for his team. Where was the outrage on behalf of Dumars?

But the decision was perceived to come down to Stockton and Thomas, and in the absence of consensus about those two’s on-court level in 1991/1992, Michael Jordan got to cast the deciding vote.

“That is politics. There’s no question about it,” McCallum said. “But it’s the kind of pragmatic decision and politics that is made all the time.”

NBA’s Ocean Eleven: Before Pau Gasol, there was Rasheed Wallace

In the winter of 2008, general managers, head coaches, media members and fans were outraged at the idea that the Los Angeles Lakers had acquired Pau Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies in a swap for Kwame Brown, Javaris Crittenton, the rights to Marc Gasol and two first round picks (2008 and 2010). The trade was viewed as preposterous and horribly one-sided in favor of a Lakers team that had become a championship contender with the acquisition of the Spaniard.

Some made the argument that the trade should be vetoed – the irony of course is that a trade involving the Lakers would actually get vetoed in December 2011 with Chris Paul being the big prize – given how much it impacted the balance of power in the Western Conference. Phil Jackson would now have a great high and low post option to use in the Triangle Offense to help complement the wide array of skills of Kobe Bryant.

Gasol had a high basketball IQ and managed to pick up the triple-post offense on the fly and he combined that with a refined and aesthetically pleasing post game to turn the purple and gold into the best team in the conference.

In the Gasol era, the Lakers would make three straight NBA Finals appearances and win back-to-back titles.

At the time, it made sense for teams not owned by Jerry Buss to be annoyed.

Mind you, one team had no right to complain about what was perceived as high way robbery from Memphis at the time: the Detroit Pistons.

The 2002-03 Detroit Pistons were a good but not good enough.

Indeed, they faced off against Jason Kidd and his New Jersey Nets in the Eastern Conference Finals and were taken down in four games as the Nets essentially never truly got tested by the Pistons.

Joe Dumars had assembled a solid team with good players at just about every position.

Indeed, they had a terrific backcourt that complemented each other almost perfectly. While Billups orchestrated the offense and also figured out when to assert himself to score, he also had a terrific scoring option in Richard Hamilton. Rip would make his defenders dizzy by simply running through a multitude of screens to get free just long enough to attempt and convert midrange jumpers.

The guards were good offensive options but also brought a lot to the table defensively. Billups was good at staying in front of opposing guards and forcing them make tough decisions with the ball while Hamilton was a great full-court man-to-man defender that forced ball handlers to exert more energy than they were typically accustomed to when bringing up the ball.

The team’s biggest problem was in their frontcourt. Detroit had a host of players they could throw out to get buckets near the basket, but one big problem with their band of misfits was that their presence often meant that they were lacking in another department. For instance, Corliss Williamson could get some minutes at the small or power forward position, but the team lost something in terms of ball movement and long-range shooting.

In Mehmet Okur, the Pistons had some 3-point shooting, but lacked an interior presence capable of putting up points near the basket as well as a stout defender at the big-man position.

Thus, the team might have had Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace to help cover up for teammates and also defend their positions, but the four spot often left much to be desired.

And then, the theft happened.

Rasheed Wallace had been a member of the Portland Trail Blazers for seven seasons and half and had played at a very high level for the team. Although few may remember this, Wallace almost singlehandedly carried the Portland Trail Blazers to a Game 7 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000 Western Conference Finals.

The big man was a rare talent.

AT 6-foot-10, he could play all the frontcourt positions and play them well. His long arms coupled with quick feet and defensive discipline made it a nightmare for opponents trying to score against him. On the other side of the ball, he was as complete a big man you will ever see.

Sheed was the prototypical stretch four-man of today’s NBA, making it rain from 3-point range; but what made him different than most big men was that he also had the ability to go down on the low block and dominate the game of basketball there. Other than perhaps Dirk Nowitzki and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, it’s tough to argue that any other player in league history had a more unblockable shot. Indeed, the former Tar Heel held the ball high above his head on his jump shots, which meant that no one could ever get to it given his 6’10’’ frame and his high elevation off the ground.

Thus, Wallace had the face-up jumper, the turnaround jumper and the pump fake and explosion to the rim (where no one could conceivably block his dunk attempts given his unreal elevation). Those three moves in his arsenal made him a beast down low.

Mind you, the big man had character issues.

His game had always been top notch, but his behavior often left much to be desired. Wallace would coast through games if he felt the opponents weren’t good enough, and as the years went by, he became less and less interested in banging down low with the big guys and instead drifted out to the perimeter to take long-range shots. The big man needed to be challenged, but his problems off the court as well as the Blazers multiple infractions with the law meant that the franchise had to clean house and start anew regardless of how talented the roster was.

Consequently, Rasheed Wallace was traded on February 9th, 2004 to the Atlanta Hawks.

And then 10 days later, the Detroit Pistons acquired the talented forward via trade. Here’s the breakdown of the three-way trade:

  • Atlanta acquired Chris Mills (from Boston), Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura and a 2004 1st round pick (from Detroit).
  • Boston acquired Chucky Atkins, Lindsey Hunter and a 2004 1st round pick (from Detroit).
  • Detroit acquired Mike James (from Boston) and Rasheed Wallace (from Atlanta).

If you’re scoring at home, the Detroit Pistons surrendered Chucky Atkins, Lindsey Hunter, Zeljko Rebraca, Bob Sura and two first round picks to acquire Rasheed Wallace from the Atlanta Hawks. Joe Dumars gave up a bunch of bench players and two picks to get a big man that would go on to make two more All-Star appearances (four total). In a league where talented big men are a precious commodity, you would think Detroit would have given up at least two starters or something close to that effect to acquire Wallace, but such was not the case.

The Detroit Pistons would go on to become the perfect illustration of team basketball.

With Wallace on board, what was already a great defense actually became better. Big men had trouble finishing over the outstretched arms of the North Carolina product, his sharp rotations helped take away any advantage opponents might have, he rebounded his area and his individual interior defense made it quite difficult for his opponents to score. And on the few times he got beat, he had a four-time Defensive Player of the Year protecting his back.

On offense, Detroit gave teams headaches.

Rasheed would occasionally operate down in the post where few could stop him, but his value came in screen setting as a stretch man. Whether he was screening off or on the ball, his ability to step out and shoot gave defenses fits. Indeed, whenever the player defending the former Trail Blazer would retreat to the paint to help out against cutters or players that had gotten free off of screens, Wallace would step out and drill shots.

If his man stayed at home, well the Pistons would get an uncontested look right at the basket. And just to throw a few wrinkles at teams, Sheed would occasionally roll to the basket for alley oops.

The acquisition of Wallace helped the Pistons win the 2004 NBA Finals by upsetting the Los Angeles Lakers, make back-to-back trips to the finals and six straight appearances in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Although the team “only” won one title, Rasheed Wallace helped the unit become a championship squad thanks in large part to his vast array of skills at both ends of the court.

Joe Dumars’ transactions as the Pistons general manager might not be impressive as of late, but make no mistake about it; he completely fleeced the Atlanta Hawks. The fallout just wasn’t the same when Detroit was involved in comparison to the purple and gold.

Quite a heist it was nonetheless…

Isiah Thomas was better than Kevin Johnson

Ethan Sherwood Strauss, Myles Brown and Bomani Jones had a discussion on Twitter last night that began with Strauss declaring Kevin Johnson was better than Isiah Thomas. What followed was Brown and Jones telling Strauss he was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Brown and Jones are correct. Isiah Thomas was better than Kevin Johnson.

Before explain why, here’s what everyone said:

The exchange

Strauss:

Kevin Johnson was better than Isiah Thomas. Had we known that, Isiah might not have been granted free reign to destroy the Knicks

Brown:

@SherwoodStrauss No.

Strauss:

@mdotbrown Yes. http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/johnske02.html …http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/t/thomais01.html …

Brown:

@SherwoodStrauss No. This is inarguable.

Jones:

@mdotbrown @SherwoodStrauss k.j. better than zeke? that’s cute.

Strauss:

@bomani_jones @mdotbrown KJ was better statistically. He just didn’t play on the league’s best defensive team (Also got hurt a lot)

Brown:

@SherwoodStrauss @bomani_jones He also didn’t beat Bird, Magic or Jordan in their prime. Or lead a team, much less in the manner Zeke did.

Jones:

@mdotbrown @SherwoodStrauss think about it: zeke turned his game DOWN to get the most of that roster with no other star.

Strauss:

@bomani_jones @mdotbrown The title Pistons weren’t a great offensive team & Zeke wasn’t responsible for that defense

Strauss:

@bomani_jones @mdotbrown Also, the people deeming this opinion ridiculous should at least acknowledge that the numbers don’t flatter Zeke

Brown:

@SherwoodStrauss @bomani_jones It may be childish and dismissive, but there’s few other ways to say it: Fuck yo numbers. Zeke was better.

Strauss:

@mdotbrown @bomani_jones I’d say fuck our old non-League Pass, non-Internet era (and the memories it produced)

Strauss:

@KNelsonDX @bomani_jones @mdotbrown Why’s the burden of proof on me to show that a statistically worse player is worse? It should be on you

Strauss:

NBA isn’t MLB, but the numbers have to mean SOMETHING. It’s that or our collective memories are always perfect & can’t be questioned

Jones:

@SherwoodStrauss @KNelsonDX @mdotbrown yeah, but you told us we’re just old and on some "good ol days" noise. what would you listen to?

Strauss:

@bomani_jones @KNelsonDX @mdotbrown Nah. The claim is that our old days memories suck, given those old contraints

Jones:

@SherwoodStrauss @KNelsonDX @mdotbrown except when they both played, and folks were in the present, nobody said this sh t you’re spittin.

Strauss:

@bomani_jones @KNelsonDX @mdotbrown Nobody says it because they’ll get THIS kind of response. But there’s plenty of reason to say it

Strauss:

@bomani_jones @negativedunks @mdotbrown Okay, hypothetical. Zeke never plays with a top-5 defense. How do we remember him?

Strauss:

@bomani_jones @negativedunks @mdotbrown KJ led two consecutive No. 1 offenses. Did Zeke ever do that?

Strauss:

To those asking, I’m not citing PER in this Zeke-KJ thing. Don’t need to. PER, Win Shares, Wins Produced, all the aggregate stats agree

This went on a bit longer, and you can check the various Twitters to read it in full, but I’m going to stop here.

The reasoning

PER

  • Isiah Thomas: 19.8
  • Kevin Johnson: 19.1

Win shares

  • Isiah Thomas: 12.5
  • Kevin Johnson: 9.4

Win shares per 48 minutes

  • Isiah Thomas: .143
  • Kevin Johnson: .117

Why do my numbers favor Thomas when Strauss’ numbers favor Johnson? I’m looking at the playoffs. He’s looking at the regular season.

Can’t we all agree the playoffs are more important than the regular season?

Plus, factor in that Thomas, in sum, advanced further in the playoffs than Johnson – meaning Isiah’s playoff numbers presumably came against tougher competition than Johnson’s – and Thomas blows Johnson out of the water.

Former Piston Dennis Rodman meets his father for the first time

I’ve written before in some of my many Dennis Rodman posts about the fact that he’d never met his dad, Philander (no joke … that’s his name) Rodman, who has allegedly fathered as many as 29 children.

Rodman finally agreed to meet his father in the Philippines (Philander Rodman lives and owns a restaurant there) while there to play an exhibition game. The Associated Press has an account the meeting:

Philander, who has been living in the Philippines for nearly 50 years, said he wanted to explain to his son that he didn’t abandon his family in the United States, but they only had time for greetings and handshakes.

He said he spent only about three minutes with his son, who was also busy signing autographs.

“I really, really felt good,” he said. “It’s the beginning of something new.”

He gave his number to his son who promised to call.

He said his son did not even want to talk about him six years ago, but he was encouraged to try again to meet him after Tuesday’s press conference where the former Pistons and Bulls star invited him to watch Wednesday’s game.

“I don’t hate the guy that brought me into this world,” Dennis Rodman told reporters. “The fact is, if I saw him, I’ll just tell him, ‘You know, you’re a friend of mine.’”