Professional basketball is a sport of constant excitement, in which teams always put on a show for the home crowd. The players who usually receive the most attention are the ones who score the most points. But when the shots don’t go in, someone has to be there to clean them up. In order to get the ball back from an opponent or quickly put back missed opportunities, you need outstanding rebounders.
There have been many legendary players to grace the court with their ability to box out defenders and pull down the ball from the rim. Though rebounding is a largely under-appreciated statistic, it’s one of the most significant aspects of the game. Here are five of the best rebounders in NBA history.
1. Dennis Rodman
Before he started hanging around with North Korean dictators, Dennis Rodman was tearing it up in the NBA in the ’80s and ’90s. “Rodzilla” was a household name because of his on-court antics, drag-out fights with other players and — most of all — his knack for pulling down a record number of basketballs from the backboard each season. Many consider Rodman to be the greatest rebounder in modern history. He had a tough time scoring points, but he was an amazing defender and impossible to box out. At only 6 feet, 7 inches and 225 pounds, it’s incredible that Rodman could battle against 7-footers and grab .414 rebounds per minute over his career. He played for several different teams during his time in the league, including the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Bulls. In all, he led the NBA in rebounds per game for seven consecutive years and won five NBA championships.