Dennis Rodman, Chris Mullin and Tex Winter were enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame on Friday as part of a 10-strong intake.
Rodman, who once wore a wedding dress to one of his book signings, was well known for his antics off the court, but he did find time to win several NBA championships on Michael Jordan-led teams.
Rodman was raised by his -single-parent mother while growing up in a poverty-plagued and crime--ridden US inner city neighborhood.
“I got out, but it took a lot of hard work and it took a lot of bumps along the road,” he said.
Mullin becomes the 11th member of the famed 1992 US Olympic Team to be enshrined on their own merit.
This year’s list also includes big men Artis Gilmore and Arvydas Sabonis; eight-time NBA champion Tom “Satch” Sanders of the Boston Celtics; coaching great Winter; college coach Herb Magee and the late Reece “Goose” Tatum of the Harlem Globetrotters. Women’s star Teresa Edwards and women’s college coach Tara VanDerveer were also enshrined.
Speaking at Symphony Hall, Rodman thanked his NBA coaches for being father figures to him, as he never knew his biological father.
Rodman described them as men “you can call any time of day” who ignored his antics and “looked at an individual that had a good heart.”
While he likes to joke around, Rodman was one of the top defensive players in the league for many seasons. He won an NBA record seven consecutive rebounding titles.
Last year Mullin was enshrined along with his teammates from the 1992 US Olympic squad. He becomes the 11th player from that team to also go into the hall of fame as an individual. Mullin played in five NBA all-star games and scored more than 17,000 points in his career.
Winter was a coaching assistant to Lakers legend Phil Jackson on nine NBA championship teams. Winter has been slowed after a stroke and struggles with his speaking, but felt well enough to make the trip to Springfield.
“We’re really excited for him. I know he is to. He’s very happy about it,” Jackson said. “He’s been jumping the gun all night and all day yesterday, so I think it’s a good time for him to do it, even though I wish he could express himself and say what he really has on his mind.”
The Naismith Hall of Fame is dominated by Americans and the only other team to be enshrined is the 1960 US Olympic team.
Sabonis played in his native Lithuania before moving to the US to play for Portland.
The Hall of Fame is named after James Naismith, a Canadian who is credited with inventing the sport in 1891.