On this day in Pistons history: Dennis Rodman makes his NBA debut

Jim Rogash

Dennis Rodman has long been an extremely loud presence, but his Hall of Fame career began with a whimper.

Before he was a five-time NBA champion, before he was a two-time All Star, before he a seven-time All-Defense first team member, before he was a Hall of Famer, Dennis Rodman was just a quiet, largely unheralded second-round pick out of Southeastern Oklahoma State University.

And while he is now more known for his off-court exploits, including meeting with the leader of North Korea, professional wrestling, cross dressing, wild behavior and ... this:

I bet you couldn't make it through that entire 8 minute video. Well, I watched THE WHOLE movie. Impressed? Or sad?

But back to basketball.

Rodman was a rare talent, but he didn't exactly display those skills right out of the gate. In his first game, Rodman came off of the bench to spell starter John Salley, playing 14 forgettable minutes and scoring no points and securing only two rebounds.

He would, of course, go on to lead the league in rebounding for seven straight seasons, from 1992 to 1998 and be the most ferocious defender on a team known for its hard-nosed defense.

But I really can't say enough about Rodman's ability to rebound. It was practically superhuman, especially considering he stood at just 6-foot-7. Just a little context: Ben Wallace was a great player and a great rebounder for Detroit. Wallace had a total rebound percentage greater than 20 three times in his 16-year career, leading the league at 23.2 percent in 2002-03.

Rodman had a total rebound percentage higher than 20 percent for 10 consecutive seasons and a career percentage of 23.4. At his peak, Rodman grabbed nearly 1 in 3 available board.

He was someone who never should have been as good as he was. But he found a way. And now his No. 10 hangs in the rafters at the Palace of Auburn Hills. And it all started on Oct. 31, 1986.

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