This week, Dennis Rodman takes center stage in The Last Dance, as episodes three and four explore the Bulls-Pistons rivalry of the late 80s and early 90s — years Rodman spent in Detroit — and how he ended up joining the Bulls for their second three-peat.
One of the central themes of the two episodes is how Rodman was always seeking acceptance and how he found that on the Bulls. He was respected and appreciated by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen for the dirty work he did on the court, and he found a coach in Phil Jackson that truly understood his personality, along with the fact that he had very different needs from his teammates .
The most famous example of this was a midseason vacation Jackson granted to Rodman to go to Las Vegas for 48 hours and blow off some steam after Pippen had returned to the lineup. Jordan warned Phil against such a decision, explaining that there was no chance Rodman would return on time, but Jackson gave Rodman the go ahead to hit Las Vegas.
The end of episode three and beginning of episode four tell the story of that trip, with Rodman’s then-girlfriend Carmen Electra providing key eye-witness account of that trip and how it ended. Jordan is asked at the top of E4 if Rodman returned on time, and responds with this statement.
“Mmm-mmm. He didn’t come back on time,” Jordan said. “We had to go get his ass out of bed. And I’m not going to say what’s in his bed, where he was, blah blah blah.”
It’s a bit disappointing that all these years later Jordan won’t spill a little tea on what exactly went down, but luckily Carmen Electra was willing to fill in a little bit on how it went down in Las Vegas when Jordan came to drag Rodman out of bed.
“There’s a knock on the door. It’s Michael Jordan, and, I hid,” Carmen Electra said. “I just, I don’t want him to see me like that. I’m hiding behind the couch with covers over me. ‘Come on, we’ve got to get to practice.’”
I’m sure there was far more colorful language involved, but it is a very funny visual to imagine Jordan flying to Vegas, surely stopping at a blackjack table somewhere between the lobby and Dennis’ hotel room, finding Dennis’ room, and beating down the door until Rodman came back to Chicago with him, all while Carmen Electra hides behind a couch.
If there’s one critique of The Last Dance it’s that the participants still aren’t quite as willing to really get into the weeds on certain stories 30 years later, but, to be clear, it’s still been a phenomenal watch and hearing these stories, even ones we’ve heard or read before, from the people involved has been tremendous to watch.