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Many consider Dennis Rodman the best rebounder of all time, and he was arguably a very accomplished and entertaining player.

A five-time NBA champion, Rodman was a key piece of the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” teams with Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Bill Laimbeer, and Rick Mahorn which prevented the Chicago Bulls from starting their dynasty earlier.

Rodman then played a massive role in the second three-peat of the Bulls, with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and head coach Phil Jackson leading the way.

How coach Jackson got Rodman to buy into his philosophy

“Phil Jackson was a master of managing personalities,” former Bulls forward Jason Caffey said. “He controlled Dennis by not attempting to control him. Read that twice!”

ESPN’s ‘The Last Dance’ shows that Rodman and coach Jackson had great chemistry. Jordan himself has said many times that Jackson was a player’s coach.

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who played with the Bulls from 1993 to 1998, said that Jackson always understood Rodman and that the way he handled the star forward was crucial.

“The way Phil coached Dennis was the key to everything,Kerr explained. “It really informed me of what coaching was about. Because Phil demanded certain things from Dennis and got out of his way. I saw how powerful that was.”

Why coach Jackson understood his players

Jackson never tried to control Rodman or any of his players. That’s a mistake that other head coaches still make.

By managing Rodman, Jackson made sure he remembered that the Bulls needed him to win. That motivated the competitor in Rodman and prevented his inevitably rebellious behavior from impacting the team.

It worked, Rodman excelled as a rebounder and defender in his three years with the Bulls, and he even averaged a career-high in assists (3.1) in 1997.

Jackson played 12 seasons in the NBA, which explains how he understood what his players were going through. Jackson won NBA Championships with the Knicks in 1970 and 1973. That experience prepared him for his future as a head coach.

The Bulls named Jackson their head coach in 1989, and he led them to six NBA Championships. Jackson then coached the Lakers from 1999 to 2004 and 2005 to 2011, winning five more NBA Championships.

Jackson’s 11 NBA Championships as a head coach surpassed Red Auerbach’s previous record of nine. Jackson also has an NBA record with 13 championships as a player and head coach.