Lifestyle & Belief

Dennis Rodman heads to the Vatican to (maybe) visit the pope


Dennis Rodman speaks during the Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Symphony Hall on Aug. 12, 2011, in Springfield, Mass. Rodman's recent trip to North Korea makes him the latest in a long line of musicians, artists and athletes who have helped open Asian dictatorships to the world.


Jim Rogash

Dennis Rodman, the eccentric basketball player who endeared himself to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un earlier this month, is continuing his statesman-like duties with a trip to the Vatican.

According to TMZ, Rodman is en route to the Holy See in hopes of meeting the as-yet-unelected pope. 

Rodman's meeting with the new head of the Catholic Church (who, again, hasn't been chosen yet) is being worked on by his "people," the basketballer told TMZ.  

"I want to be anywhere in the world that I'm needed ... I want to spread a message of peace and love throughout the world," Rodman said of his goals for the trip. 

Yahoo! Sports argued that the former Chicago Bull's mission could be better put to use elsewhere:

By the way, Dennis, the city in which you won three NBA championships could use that “message of peace and love” right now. Chicago is home to increasing and worrying gang violence, violence you desperately tried to avoid while growing up in a rough section of Dallas, and any bit of attention sent towards this worsening situation helps. And your presence, as a former Chicago Bull, would likely do far more good in talking some sense into people than a needless photo opportunity in the Vatican would. Just a suggestion, if you’re looking for more landing spots. 

But hey, to each his own! As Fox Sports cheekily pointed out, "while some would question whether Rome is indeed where Rodman 'is needed,' the newfound peace pursuits by him and other controversial sports figures (think Metta World Peace, who has actually named himself after his goal) is a nice change from wreaking havoc, especially on a global stage."

Plus, the striking former b-baller is hardly the first athlete to meet a pope: baseball player Mark McGwire and several Olympic swimmers have both had the honor. 

We say go for it, Rodman – the world needs all the peace and love it can get these days. 

More from GlobalPost: North Korean defectors think Dennis Rodman looks like an alien