No one has ever accused Dennis Rodman of being even remotely conventional.
Following his highly successful college career at Southeastern Oklahoma State, where he was a three-time NAIA All-American, he became part of the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys.”
Throughout his professional career, which took him from the Pistons to a British team called the Brighton Bears, his behavior, and his physical appearance, became more colorful and bizarre.
You never knew what new piercing, tattoo or hair color Rodman would be sporting on any given day.
He has had his share of marriages (3) and legal woes, not to mention an ongoing battle with alcohol.
Rodman has dabbled in professional wrestling, movies and reality TV. He even has written a couple of autobiographies.
And now he has dipped a toe into the murky, swirling waters of international diplomacy.
Rodman recently traveled to North Korea, the secretive nation ruled by an oppressive regime that seems bent on sticking its thumb in the eyes of the international community with its continued drive to develop nuclear weapons.
He traveled with members of the Harlem Globetrotters for some exhibition basketball and to film an upcoming HBO documentary, and apparently became best buds with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.
Rodman was seen schmoozing with Kim, who just weeks ago launched the country’s third nuclear test, drawing global condemnation and a warning about possible additional economic sanctions against the globe’s most isolated nation.
Those sanctions don’t seem to have much of an effect on Kim. After all, he’s not the one suffering. His people, however, are starving to death, some even going so far as to resort to cannibalism to stay alive. A North Korean man recently was executed after he was found to have killed and eaten his two children because the family was starving.
I wonder if the two new pals talked about that incident during the reportedly long and lavish dinner they shared during Rodman’s visit?
Now Rodman apparently wants to become a diplomat, carrying a message for President Obama from his new BFF.
“Call him.” Kim told the Worm, referring to Obama, “I don’t want to do war.”
Rodman said he saw that people in North Korea “respect” Kim. Rodman undoubtedly mistook respect for mortal terror.
The former basketball star even offered this diplomatic solution to the growing global threat that is North Korea: “Kim loves basketball. Obama loves basketball. Let’s start there.” Hitler loved art, music and dogs, but that didn’t seem to make any difference in his quest to take over the world.
Rodman needs to stick with “Celebrity Apprentice,” to getting tattoos and piercings, to dyeing his hair all sorts of bizarre colors, or to his penchant for posing nude or in a wedding dress, which he has done at various times in his career.
What he doesn’t need to do is give a brutal dictator a propaganda coup, to make him appear somehow benign, to afford him a measure of legitimacy on the world stage.
Dennis Rodman needs to choose his friends more carefully. He’d be better off getting chummy with a rattlesnake.
Mullin is senior writer of the News & Eagle. Email him at email@example.com.