Dennis Rodman is drawing quite a bit of attention lately for his exploits in North Korea and friendship with Kim Jong-un, the controversial leader of the country.
The five-time NBA champion is hoping to use his celebrity status to improve the tenuous relationship between America and North Korea. Rodman became the first American to meet with the Supreme Leader and is hoping to utilize his unique position to do some good in the world.
According to Franz Lidz of Sports Illustrated (via SI’s Ben Golliver), Rodman believes he should be in consideration for a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in the country and attempt to broker talks between U.S. President Barack Obama and Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.
The Worm had this to say about his ultimate goal in North Korea:
My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries. Why it’s been left to me to smooth things over, I don’t know. Dennis Rodman, of all people. Keeping us safe is really not my job; it’s the black guy’s [Obama's] job. But I’ll tell you this: If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong.
Rodman recently journeyed to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, with a few members of the Harlem Globetrotters and a crew from HBO’s television series Vice.
The trip was highlighted by a contest between the North Korean team and the Globetrotters—which Kim Jong-un and Rodman presided over—and a raucous dinner reception where Rodman sang karaoke and spoke with many of the nation’s top officials.
Before the trip, Rodman said he knew little of North Korea or the leader, per Lidz: “I didn’t know Kim Jong-un from Lil’ Kim. I didn’t know what country he ruled or what went on in the country he ruled.”
He changed his tune afterward, calling Kim “really awesome” and a “friend for life,” and asked for President Obama to speak with him in a hope that the two nations can put an end to their differences:
Fact is, he hasn’t bombed anywhere he’s threatened to yet. Not South Korea, not Hawaii, not … whatever. People say he’s the worst guy in the world. All I know is Kim told me he doesn’t want to go to war with America. His whole deal is to talk basketball with Obama. Unfortunately, Obama doesn’t want to have anything to do with him. I ask, Mr. President, what’s the harm in a simple phone call? This is a new age, man. Come on, Obama, reach out to Kim and be his friend
Rodman is attempting to leverage his new-found friendship with Kim by calling for the Supreme Leader to “do him a solid” and order the release of Kenneth Bae, the Korean-American tour guide who is set to serve a 15-year sentence of hard labor for alleged “hostile acts" against the state.
The Hall of Famer is scheduled to be back in North Korea in August to “chill, play some basketball and maybe go on vacation with Kim and his family.”
While it sounds crazy, if Rodman’s diplomatic forays into North Korea result in improved relations with a country that has been hostile towards America since the Cold War—and possibly the release of Bae—he could garner serious consideration for the Nobel Peace Prize.
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