Chicago Bulls: Did Dennis Rodman invent load management?

373750 01: 2/26/99 Beverly Hills, CA. New Laker Dennis Rodman celebrates his first winning game out on the town at GOODBAR with wife Carmen Electra.
373750 01: 2/26/99 Beverly Hills, CA. New Laker Dennis Rodman celebrates his first winning game out on the town at GOODBAR with wife Carmen Electra. /

The documentary series “The Last Dance, ” which chronicles the NBA Championship title run of Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls, may have unearthed an answer to the question of how load management was invented.

Here’s a look at how episodes No. 3 and 4 of the Chicago Bulls documentary series likely helped put an end to the long-debated mystery surrounding the origin of the term load management.

Just ask Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz. In an April 26 tweet, he had this to say.

Mitchell’s tweeted was shared in response to the documentary series highlighting the length that Dennis Rodman went to get his mind right over the course of the 1997-1998 season. In the documentary series, Rodman speaks on how he struggled to come to grips with the reality of being what he called the third wheel upon Scottie Pippen‘s return to the lineup. He turned to head coach Phil Jackson at the time to gain clearance to take a 48-hour trip to Las Vegas to give himself time to regroup. The interesting thing is Mitchell makes a good point.

As the documentary series shows, Rodman used the time off to drink, do drugs and party with Carmen Electra. By today’s standards, Rodman’s request seems farfetched. However, the time spent away in retrospect may have actually given Rodman a bit of a break to get his mind in check.

How, you ask?

In today’s world, load management is more commonly called into question when an NBA Star is trying to help themselves recover from a physical injury. However, the process of recovering from an injury isn’t merely a physical feat, it also could involve a degree of mental fitness. This is why I believe Rodman is responsible at least, in part, for inventing the term load management.

For one thing, there’s been questions left unanswered for years as to Rodman’s mental health. It’s not too far off to believe Rodman turned to drugs and partying hoping to find a sense of relief for mental health issues he may have been experiencing at the time. “The Last Dance” doesn’t offer much insight in that regard, which is not unexpected for a documentary series that is, in large, part focused on Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 Bulls as a whole. This isn’t to say that Rodman couldn’t be responsible for inventing load management.

There’s a common misconception that load management is something new. This is where I have to draw the line in the sand. It may seem like load management is a new term that describes a modern NBA issue, but it’s also possible that people hadn’t coined a term to help people speak on it years ago. After all, language evolves as people do. Much like LGBTQ issues, a lot of the terms people use to discuss the problems that LGBTQ people face didn’t exist years ago. It wasn’t until more recently that dictionaries started introducing new terms to help people in speaking on related topics.

The good news is the NBA has taken proactive steps over the years trying to create greater awareness and support for mental health issues in conjunction with physical wellbeing.