If Dennis Rodman is to be believed, the security of the United States rests in his hands. And if successful, he believes he should be considered for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The National Basketball Association Hall of Famer suggested in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated that his newfound friendship with North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un could be critical to normalizing relations between the two countries.

“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 job.”

“But I’ll tell you this,” he added. “If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong.”

In seeking the Nobel, Rodman yearns to join an elite club whose members include Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Rodman’s sit-down with Kim, who has long threatened to launch a nuclear strike against the U.S., occurred when the former star with the Chicago Bulls traveled to the Korean peninsula with the Harlem Globetrotters.

The former NBA bad boy had serious face time with the reclusive communist leader—he sat side-by-side with Kim during a basketball exhibition game, and even serenaded the Supreme Leader with a rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” at a private dinner reception.

Rodman claimed that Kim, whom he called his “friend for life,” just wants to talk basketball with President Obama. The Asian leader is “really awesome,” he added, and not a warmonger, as many believe.

“Fact is, he hasn’t bombed anywhere he’s threatened to yet…. 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,” the 52-year-old former athlete said. “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.’”

While such a friendship is unlikely bet, Rodman said he intends to keep trying to make it happen. He said he plans to return to North Korea in August to continue his efforts at diplomacy.

“I’m just gonna chill, play some basketball and maybe go on vacation with Kim and his family,” Rodman said.

The Rodman interview is the cover story of the magazine’s annual “Where Are They Now?” edition and appears under the headline, “Dennis Rodman Tries to Save the World One After-Party at a Time.”


Zenitha Prince

Special to the AFRO