Worms Aren't Known for Rebounding, but That's How Dennis Rodman Earned the Name
ESPN's The Last Dance, the 30 for 30 docuseries that chronicles not only the life and times of Michael Jordan, but the Chicago Bulls' 1997-1998 season where they went after their second three-peat and sixth championship, is ridiculously good. It's so good that even if you've never even watched a single basketball game, you'd still probably be entranced by it, mostly because of its storytelling and cast of real-life talent.
Like Dennis Rodman. And speaking of Dennis, why is he called "The Worm" anyway?
Why is Rodman called "The Worm"? His physical style of play.
While worms aren't exactly known to be the most intimidating of animals, in fact, they're more gross than threatening, Dennis's physicality in the game of basketball and emotional style of play earned him two defensive player of the year awards, along with the slimy moniker.
No matter how tight or congested a group of players got when trying to gain possession of the ball, Dennis almost always found himself right in the thick of it and, a lot of the time, he'd be the one to get the rock. He didn't care about scoring, he didn't care about breaking ankles on offense and taking it to the hole. All Dennis really cared about was protecting his teammates, stealing the ball, snatching rebounds, and guarding the heck out of anyone coach told him to stick to.
Another reason he was given the nickname was also because when he "stuck to a player, he wouldn't leave them alone." Dennis has always been known for his boundless energy, so his ability to never get tired, that tenacity, coupled with his enthusiasm for sticking to players like white on rice, is another reason some say he was called "The Worm."
But another rumor is that Dennis's mother gave him the nickname for the way he'd wiggle while playing pinball.
Whatever the reason for Dennis's nickname, it's hard to argue that he wasn't one of the best defensive players in the game, and is someone you'd definitely want hustling on your behalf.
Interestingly enough, his inability to ever become fatigued also contributed to another reason as to why Dennis is one of the most notorious basketball players ever, his happy-go-lucky hard-partying lifestyle.
Carmen Electra once hid from Michael Jordan because of Dennis Rodman's party-loving ways.
In the Bulls final championship season, Dennis once asked coach Phil Jackson if he could take a mini vacation to let out some steam. So Phil, knowing Dennis's commitment to the game and understanding the mentality of his squad, told Dennis he could go. So Dennis headed out to Vegas with then-girlfriend Carmen Electra to have some fun.
The thing about Dennis, however, is the second he decides to party, he's firing on all cylinders from the get-go.
CBS Sports reported Carmen Electra as saying: "I do remember being in Vegas with [Dennis]. It was on. The party was starting right away. One thing about Dennis, he had to escape. He liked to go out. He liked to go to clubs. We'd go to his favorite restaurant. Then we'd go to a nightclub. Then we'd go to after hours. It didn't stop. It was definitely an occupational hazard to be Dennis's girlfriend. He was wild."
She continued, "But to be honest, I didn't realize what the team's schedule was. I didn't know he took a detour." So it came as a surprise to her when Michael Jordan came a knocking on their door right after the couple made it back from Vegas to ensure that Dennis was ready to suit up and get to practice.
"There's a knock on the door. It's Michael Jordan. And I hid. I didn't want him to see me like that. So I'm just like hiding behind the couch with covers on me," Electra recounted.
The Bulls would go on to win their sixth championship and second three-peat. The rest is history, and The Worm's partying and Carmen Electra are very much a part of it.