Posted July 02, 2013

Dennis Rodman to Sports Illustrated: I should be considered for Nobel Peace Prize

Ben Golliver, Chicago Bulls, Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman appears on July 8 cover of Sports Illustrated.

Dennis Rodman appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s. ‘Where Are They Now?’ issue. (Clay Patrick McBride for Sports Illustrated)

Sports Illustrated’s annual “Where Are They Now?” issue often feels like an unpredictable real-life version of Mad Libs: [Former athlete] goes to [unexpected place] and [contributes to society in surprising manner]. For 14 years now, those blanks have been filled in, simultaneously prompting trips down memory lane and offering a glimpse at life after sports.

This year’s cover story is arguably the maddest of the Mad Libs: Dennis Rodman goes to North Korea in hopes of normalizing relations between the country and the United States and capturing a Nobel Peace Prize.

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The eccentric, uninhibited basketball Hall of Famer drew untold headlines this year when he accompanied HBO’s Vice and members of the Harlem Globetrotters on a trip to North Korea, one of the least-accessible countries to Americans and a place with one of the world’s worst records on human rights. Franz Lidz caught up with Rodman for the story behind the story, revealing the former Bulls star’s surreal experiences with North Korea’s new leadership, his plans for international diplomacy and peace, and, yes, his belief that he should be considered for a Nobel, an honor bestowed on the likes of Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.

Rodman’s very public powwow with Kim Jong-un, the rogue state’s missile-rattling dictator, was the most existential odd coupling since Nobel Prize-winning writer Samuel Beckett met a hulking boy named André Roussimoff in the French countryside and drove the future André the Giant to school in his pickup.

More astounding, Rodman got serious face and partying time with the reclusive despot, whose brother, Kim Jong-chul, used to parade around their Swiss prep school in the Worm’s Bulls jersey. At a private dinner reception, Rodman even serenaded the Supreme Leader with Sinatra’s “My Way.” Afterward, the Worm said of Kim, “guy’s really awesome” and a “friend for life.” A headline in Britain’s Daily Mirror pronounced them THE BASKETBALL ACE AND THE BASKETCASE.

Early on this warm, blustery afternoon outside the Jet Blue baggage claim at JFK, the Worm is holding forth — to his limo driver, to anyone who will listen, to the wind — on his foray into geopolitics. “Before I landed in Pyongyang, I didn’t know Kim Jong-un from Lil’ Kim,” he says. “I didn’t know what country he ruled or what went on in the country he ruled.”

“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 plans to return to North Korea in August. “I’m just gonna chill, play some basketball and maybe go on vacation with Kim and his family,” Rodman says. “I’ve called on the Supreme Leader to do me a solid by releasing Kenneth Bae.” The Korean-American missionary was recently sentenced to 15 years of hard labor on charges that he tried to topple the North Korean regime. He’d organized tours into the isolated state.

“My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries,” Rodman says. “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.”

Vice has posted must-see footage of Rodman’s trip to North Korea, which was highlighted by a basketball exhibition in which he sat side-by-side with Kim. The packed house’s thunderous standing ovation for its Supreme Leader — which saw a number of grown men openly weep — is jaw-dropping and eye-popping, a reminder of just how far outside the realm of normal Rodman ventured in making this trip.

Where is Rodman now? Out of this world, just like always, but in ways we never could have imagined.

MORE COVERAGE: SI’s 14th annual “Where Are They Now?: Maurice Clarett

Note: This week’s cover recalls a 1995 cover that featured Rodman during his second and final season with the Spurs. The following season, the two-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year joined Michael Jordan’s Bulls, reeling off three straight titles from 1996 to 1998.

Dennis Rodman graced the cover of the May 29, 1995, issue of Sports Illustrated

Dennis Rodman graced the cover of the May 29, 1995, issue of Sports Illustrated. (John W. McDonough/SI)

50 comments
donald5
donald5

Nobel Peace Prize has been a joke for a while.  Why not keep the tradition going?

6marK6
6marK6

My problem with Rodman has always been that he is the most insecure person in the world. He has always tried to dress and present himself so outlandishly, trying to deflect focus and attention from his actual self, which, after having heard him interviewed, isn't much. So, let him have his spotlight, he needs it,

muser
muser

After it was given to Barry O'Bama the award became meaningless anyway. Rodman couldnt cheapen it any further...

verve
verve

I see the Raul C and Mr. J fanclub is out in force...

Raul C
Raul C

You could say anything about Rodman but truthfully he is a good human being who wants to pitch in and reach peace . He is good people and a role model for all Americans.

Whatever
Whatever

BWAAAAAHAAHAAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHhahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess after giving Obama the Nobel Peace Prize for his one month in office, why not Rodman? At least he went into hostile territory.

joeshine730
joeshine730

finally the blacks have a role model in Rodman. Dennis has done more for America than that Martin Luthor King guy ever did.  Give Rodman that January holiday replacing Kingie.

Anaximenes1
Anaximenes1

if dennis wins the award can he spend the cash to buy some big dollar bling for madonna?

riley8
riley8

Love him or hate him the guy makes news.

arecbarrwin
arecbarrwin

Dennis Rodman is far more entitled to the Nobel Peace Prize than many of its former winners, including Henry Kissinger, Yassir Arafat, and Barack Obama.  In fact, given Obama's use of illegal drones violating the sovereign air space of many other countries, I would say Rodman is far, far more deserving than Obama.

rtdeco
rtdeco

personally i think the kardashians have done more for world peace. 

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Someone slurred their speech. It wasn't the 'Nobel Peace Prize' it was 'Nobby's Pizza Pies'.

Ed16
Ed16

I will now blindly grope into my mailbox and tear off the cover and wad it up before tossing it into the garbage. Has SI really sunk this low? How about a feature on how OJ is spending his golden years?

JoelPedigo
JoelPedigo

If anyone wants mine and my son's copies of this issue with DA Rodman? on it hit me up and I'll mail it to you!  This has to be some kind of joke on subscribers.  We didn't care about Rodman? before as a player, idiot or anything else so why would we care now?????  Oh wait I just wasted two minutes caring!  Geez I need a shrink!

j7apple
j7apple

Your reaching SI ...........................

theskipper
theskipper

Wow!  So for some unknown reason SI felt compelled to give Dennis Rodman the one thing he wants most and needs least - attention.  Nice job guys.  With so many great stories in and around sports, with so many fascinating people who are prepared to make serious contributions to the common good, SI gives us instead a has-been buffoon.  I usually read the "Where are they Now" issue with great interest.  But, Dennis Rodman?  Who cares.

bmyfive
bmyfive

Dennis Rodman has never in his life graced ANYTHING.

6marK6
6marK6

@joeshine730 I am guessing that there was a traumatic event in your life that involved you being beat up by an African American. Maybe a loved one was. And now you condemn an entire race. Not smart.

SeanWilliams
SeanWilliams

I mean I don't hate Rodman but you can't honestly say you want your children looking up to him and aspiring to be just like him?

Mr. J
Mr. J

@Whatever They should give you the award for being the most bitter hater in the USA your name says it all....go out and enjoy life my friend please remove that stick from your rear!

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@joeshine730 What a sad and bitter person you must be.  I'm a white male in my mid 40's and you couldn't be more wrong...  I live in the south too...

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@Anaximenes1 Sure, because her net worth is only listed around $650 million and Rodman's is listed at a NEGATIVE one million dollars...

Raul C
Raul C

@rtdeco ,The Kardashian? Please!!! shows like "keeping up w./ The Kardashian" and other shows are mostly staged and place an emphasis on vanity, greed, promiscuity, vulgarity and over-the-top conspicuous consumption.

Raul C
Raul C

@Ed16 ,Oh!,stop whining!! Go back and listen to your favorite singer,Justin Biever! Contrary to a bunch of stupid celebrities who are mostly staged and place an emphasis on vanity, greed, promiscuity, vulgarity and over-the-top conspicuous consumption,Dennis Rodman means well.

Mr. J
Mr. J

@Ed16 Boo hoo hoo you should go to SI and say I am an up tight Oger I demand a refund!

Raul C
Raul C

@JoelPedigo ,Could you send that copy to me?...I can give you my address. Thx!

Sportsfan18
Sportsfan18

@JoelPedigo I'll give credit where it's due... the man could rebound (7 consecutive rebounding titles in the NBA).  The man could defend too, multiple defensive player of the year awards, 7 time 1st team all defensive team...

Other than that... well... he could rebound and defend.

Raul C
Raul C

@theskipper ,fascinating people who are prepared to make serious contributions to the common good? who are they? John Edwards,Jennifer Lopez,Lindsay Lohan or Justin Bieber?,give me a friggin' break!

Raul C
Raul C

@bmyfive ,Dennis Rodman has never in his life graced ANYTHING? Bro,he might be a little eccentric but there is no doubt,Rodman was a great basketball player who happens to be a good person. Just read interviews by Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson. 

Mr. J
Mr. J

@bmyfive Are you sure he might have graced your moms before...please check before making assumptions!

Raul C
Raul C

@SeanWilliams , As long as they don't do drugs or drink alcohol excessively,I am cool w/ that. Most of the press hype about Rodman is exaggerated. The same w/ Mick Jagger from The Rolling Stones. Had he taken too much cocaine,he would not have lasted so much singing the way he still does. On top of that, the Chicago Bulls organization would not have hired him,had he been a drug addict as some of the main stream media want to suggest.   

rtdeco
rtdeco

Do you understand sarcasm...don't you?? Puleeze...

donald5
donald5

@Mr. J @theskipper You realize Rodman is broke too right?  He had to petition a New York court because he was too poor to pay child support.

donald5
donald5

He's still paying off debts. You dont really understand the concept of how you net your debts and assets do you. You see when you add them all up and it comes up negative, it means you are not worth anything... it means you are a net drain. He might make more money but his stupidity has created more debt obligations than I ever will. Good to see you have little grasp of economic concepts. Lol.