Last Dance: Jerry Krause recounts his close bond with Dennis Rodman


The eccentricities and talents of Dennis Rodman are explored in ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary, including a story of a 48-hour, mid-season vacation in Las Vegas. But the flamboyant forward also had a softer, sentimental side.

That played out when Rodman and his longtime agent, Dwight Manley, flew in to attend Jerry Krause’s private memorial service in 2017. Rodman was visibly upset at the loss of Krause, who, in a controversial move, traded for him in 1995 with a strong assist from assistant GM Jim Stack.

Krause's family has shared with NBC Sports Chicago select excerpts of Krause's unpublished and unfinished memoir. Here’s part of what Krause wrote about Rodman:

If God gave me the ability to construct the perfect rebounder, I’d want quick feet on a tall, wide-shouldered frame, strong-legged, good hands, quick jumper and a mean streak that never shut down.
In other words, I’d want Dennis Rodman, the best rebounder I’ve ever seen. Sure, I’d look at Paul Silas first and then Charles Oakley. But eventually I’d settle on Rodman and then put him on the floor for 45 minutes a game for a bunch of years and enjoy.

I had the privilege of working with Silas for a few years in Phoenix and drafting and working with Oakley for a few years. And then, because we were desperate for another great rebounder and because we were secure enough to take chances, I had the joy of watching the best of the best be a key factor in three championships.

If you’re a skeptic, you’ll say, ‘Rodman was nuts, a showman, not a player, a disgrace to the game, a non-scorer who only could rebound, a player who habitually wore out his welcome and moved on.’

If you’re an optimist, you’ll say, ‘He was a little goofy but in a positive way, a master at a skill that’s crucial to winning games, a guy who learned to play the team game.’

If you’re me, you’d say that he was a great team player, one of the most intelligent basketball players ever, a 6-foot-8-inch player with the ability to defend anybody from 6-2 guards to 7-2 centers. He was a player who in three years for us never hurt anybody but himself. He was a kind, giving person, a human being who learned what it took to make money and took advantage of it----which last time I looked was called the American way.

Dennis is basically a simple person, with few real wishes and desires. Give him love and affection, be honest with him, provide him with some security and give him enough room to roam and he’ll go to war for you. Hurt him by not showing him you care and he’ll rear back like a cornered animal, trying not to hurt you but to get away from you and go off someplace and heal his wounds.

The tattoos and the hair color and the cross-dressing stunts are not the real Dennis I know. They were just a way for him to separate from the pack. To me, he was simply one of the most fundamentally sound players I’ve ever been around.

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