Originally published early March/2013
Dennis Rodman says he is going back again to meet with the 28 year-old dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-un. On his next trip, who will accompany him?
More Harlem Globetrotters would certainly be a good idea. Possibly, the Washington Generals could also go.
What if Rodman could bring Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen to watch with him and the dictator? This would be quite a coup for 'basketball diplomacy.' The three great players from the Chicago Bulls championship years of 1996-1998 together again, but this time, to make world peace.
Or, should Rodman bring Ron Artest, aka-Metta World Peace?
It is the Bulls dynasty which Kim Jong-un remembers most from his childhood. The glory days of the NBA in the 1990's is what made the biggest impression on him.
What about Karl Malone and John Stockton, Gary Payton or Shawn Kemp? In 1996, Kim Jong-un was 12 years old and Payton was shakin' and bakin' in his prime. The Bulls with Rodman beat the Seattle Sonics and Utah Jazz twice for three championships.
What Rodman accomplished as the only American to ever get to know Kim Jong-un was remarkable and will cement him alongside Muhammad Ali as statesmen willing to break from the status quo, take risks and go to unpopular places to befriend others.
Of course, it can be argued all of this was a publicity stunt for Rodman's reality show and for him to make money from the television ratings, but those who think of this monumental trip as only for entertainment purposes are missing the bigger message. Rodman has cleared a path to bring North Korea more in touch with the Western world.
It was an extraordinary trip for Rodman who has been trippin' on life for more than 25 years, since his days with the Bad Boys of the Detroit Pistons in the mid 80's through to the early 90's.
Rodman may appear to most as a clown or a drunk, but he also comes off to many as sincere and well-intentioned. It is impossible to get into his brain and know for sure how he makes his decisions, but he has now reached legendary status. His achievement on this last road show will stand the test of time and may end up being the beginning of a full-court press for peace.