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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) — Dennis Rodman wants to add one more title to his illustrious and troubled career: Nobel Peace Prize winner.
Rodman tells Sports Illustrated he should be up for the award that has previously been given to Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa because of the relationship he has started with North Korea and its dictator Kim Jong-un.
“Before I landed in Pyongyang, I didn’t know Kim Jong-un from Lil’ Kim,” Rodman told SI. “I didn’t know what country he ruled or what went on in the country he ruled.”
Rodman visited Kim in February during a trip to North Korea. The two spent much time together, even taking in a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition game.
Rodman has defended the North Korean leader since the meeting, saying Kim is misunderstood.
“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,” Rodman told SI. “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 plans to return to North Korea in August and is calling on Kim to release Kenneth Bae, a Korean-American missionary who was recently sentenced to 15 years hard labor.
“My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries,” Rodman told SI. “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 played 14 seasons in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks. “The Worm” was part of five championship teams and won two NBA Defensive Player of the Year Awards during his Hall of Fame career.