Dennis Rodman is going to North Korea again. And Dennis Rodman wants a Nobel Prize for it. It is not very often that candidates for a Nobel Prize will openly campaign to win the award. As protocol dictates, those who are in the running for the Prize are not informed of their status as a candidate until they actually win. The record of nominees remains sealed for a period of 50 years.
In the case of Dennis Rodman, the all-time NBA rebounder turned DIY diplomat thinks that all of his good work as a broker of peace between the United States and North Korea should not go unrecognized, and he has his eyes set on the award.
The 52-year-old Rodman told Politico, “People put that label on me like it’s my responsibility to save the world,” he said. “If it happens to come to that, then yes, I guess I’m all for it. Let’s just all get together and keep everything cool, man.”
Rodman spent two weeks in North Korea earlier this year, filming a piece for Vice to air on HBO. During his time there, Rodman rubbed elbows with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who is both an avid basketball fan as well as harbinger of unspeakable horrors against his own people.
Rodman had such a good time with his new friend he decided to return to North Korea one other time during late summer simply because he felt like it.
To put things in perspective, North Korea is such a backward regime that in the interim between Rodman’s first trip and his second one, Kim reportedly had his ex-girfriend executed by firing squad. As something of a North Korean pop star, she and her bandmates had been accused and presumably found guilty of making pornography. However, several experts weighed in and told the international media that the killings had been politically motivated.
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The United States currently has no formal diplomatic relations with North Korea. Typically the U.S. has relied upon Sweden to act as the protecting power of U.S. interests. Despite Rodman’s affinity for the country’s ruling class, there are no immediate plans for that to change.
Despite icy diplomatic relations between the two countries, American tourism in North Korea is currently on the rise. Jenny Town, assistant director of the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies told ABC News, “It’s such an isolated state. People are kind of fascinated by the novelty of going somewhere where no one else has gone,” she said.
“Travel to the country is arranged through tour companies that have local guides receive tourists and help them get around,” Town said. “There is no North Korean consulate in the United States, so visas are obtained abroad, often in Beijing.”
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Coincidentally, Dennis Rodman has a vodka launching on Thursday, the aptly named Dennis Rodman — The Original Bad Ass Premium Vodka. He and bestie Kim Jong-un reportedly partook in the new vodka during his last trip to North Korea. Along with the best wishes of the American people and the Harlem Globetrotters, he carried two cases of the stuff with him into the Hermit Kingdom, a nation of more than 25 million people.
Despite the blossoming relationship between Kim and Rodman, the United States issued a travel warning for Americans in North Korea after a California man was detained on a return flight from North Korea back to the U.S. The 85-year-old Korean War veteran was finishing a trip to the Korean peninsula where he served almost 60 years ago.
American officials are working with the Swedish government — not Dennis Rodman — to win his release.