Former NBA star and self-appointed international peacemaker Dennis Rodman is stepping into U.S.-North Korea relations again. In a new interview with Sports Illustrated, Rodman revealed plans to return to North Korea in August, where he says he will “chill, play some basketball and maybe go on vacation with Kim and his family.”
“My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries,” Rodman said in the interview. “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.”
Rodman made a high-profile visit to North Korea in March, where he spent time with Kim Jong-un, watching basketball, sharing a 10-course meal, ice skating, and visiting an aquarium. “I love Un,” Rodman told ABC’s This Week after returning to the U.S. “This guy is awesome.”
Rodman also told ABC, “[Kim Jong-un] wants Obama to do one thing: call him. He said, ‘If you can, Dennis, I don’t want to do war. I don’t want to do war.’”
White House press secretary Jay Carney responded in March to Rodman’s interviews, saying the U.S. had direct channels of communication with North Korea and did not need help from Rodman. “Instead of spending money on celebrity sporting events to entertain the elites of that country, the North Korean regime should focus on the well-being of its own people, who have been starved, imprisoned, and denied their human rights.”
But that isn’t stopping Rodman from continuing his diplomatic work. “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,” Rodman told SI.
He added, “If I don’t finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something’s seriously wrong.”