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Dennis Rodman's time as a Spur: Calling out team, nearly retiring early, questioning David Robinson | Here's what ex-coach Bob Hill recalls

Bob Hill had a front row seat to the Rodman era in San Antonio
DENVER - MAY 2: Dennis Rodman #10 of the San Antonio Spurs during Game 3, Round 1 of the 1995 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets on May 2, 1995 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1995 NBAE (Photo by Andy Hayt/NBAE via Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO — What a time in Spurs history when Dennis Rodman wore the silver and black uniform.

From 1993-95, Rodman brought excitement to the court, tons of rebounds, colorful hair, told fans it was time to get “solid,” and caused plenty of headaches for the team on and off the court.

And former Spurs head coach Bob Hill had a front-row seat to everything! 

Hill coached San Antonio from 1994-96 and dealt with Rodman’s antics as best he could, as he told “The Whistle Stop Podcast” during a recent interview. 

From Rodman’s candid take on the team when he arrived, his thoughts on David Robinson to how he nearly retired a Spur, Hill dishes on what it was like to coach “The Worm” and surprisingly says he was not a bad teammate in San Antonio.

Here are a few excerpts from the interview.

Rodman’s thoughts on the Spurs and David Robinson when he arrived in San Antonio:

“I kind of wanted to know his attitude about the team. I went right down the roster and I just listened. What about Avery Johnson? What about David Robinson? He killed every player on the team. He said, ‘This team is soft and they’ll never win big games. David Robinson is overpaid and he’ll never make a big shot’,” Hill said.

Robinson missing free throws in the 1995 Western Conference Finals:

“So we are in the Western Conference Finals (1995 versus Houston) and remember what he told me back in training camp that David would never make a big shot … we’re down one point, David is on the line for two free-throws … David is on the foul line, David shoots the free throw, misses it. Dennis Rodman pivots and puts his hands out like, ‘I told you.’ David missed the next one and we ended up losing the game,” Hill said.

Hill on Rodman the person:

“Dennis was not a bad guy. I really enjoyed him. I had a decent relationship with him. I mean we had two knockdowns, drag-out, manager, umpire, fights, spit-flying and we had to suspend him at one point,” Hill said.

Rodman nearly retired a Spur:

“He went back to Detroit and met with his psychologist for two weeks. When he came back to San Antonio, his agent called me and said, ‘You better get over to the practice facility, Dennis is going to retire.’ 

I went over to the practice facility grabbed him… this is basically what I said, ‘Look, you’re halfway through this season for you to quit now, I mean it’s up to you if you want to quit, go ahead and quit but if I were you I’d practice today, get out there on the floor, I’d break a great sweat and make a decision after this and see how you feel.’,” Hill said.

Rodman would end up holding off retirement thoughts.

Rodman's impact on Robinson’s MVP year:

Hill tells a story of Robinson showing up to his home with a Bible in hand saying he had a revelation and had questions about the offense late in the season. Once Hill answered all his questions, Robinson and the Spurs would go on a win streak, and he was named the NBA MVP in 1995.

“Dennis doing what he did, opened the door for David to secure his MVP,” Hill said. “The two of them got along OK. They didn’t have a lot in common, but David and Dennis got along OK, and coaching them was interesting.”

The Rodman era in San Antonio was quite the ride for those Spurs fans old enough to live through it, and he still holds franchise records.

He is first in Spurs history in offensive rebounding percentage (18.9), first in defensive rebounding percentage (34.5), and first in total rebounding percentage (27.1).

Rodman would be traded to Chicago in 1995 for Will Perdue. He eventually landed in the Basketball Hall of Fame. 

Hill was fired after a 3–15 start to the 1996–97 season and was replaced by then Spurs General Manager Gregg Popovich.

Do you have memories you want to share with us about Rodman's time as a Spur? Let us know on Twitter at @KENS5.

Twitter: @JeffGSpursKENS5

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