Fresh off of his success luring the Korean peninsula back to the brink of war, basketball star and self-appointed diplomat Dennis Rodman has decided on his next mission for the greater good of mankind: meeting the new pope.
The news comes from the conclave-watchers at TMZ, who say Rodman told them that "his 'people' in Rome have been in touch with the mucky muck's at the Vatican and they're trying to arrange a sit-down with the next person to don the big funny hat." It should not come as a surprise that Rodman has people close to the papacy, given the demure life of restraint he has lived. The man once romantically linked to Madonna (the singer) is expected to arrive in the city tonight.
Granted, there is not yet a new pope — the conclave just started — and, granted, it's likely that when one is selected he'll probably have a few days worth of paperwork etc. to sort out before he's receiving visitors, but Rodman seems sure that once that's all sorted out the pontiff would be thrilled to entertain such a noteworthy guest. Rodman is clearly gambling that, like his vacation buddy Kim Jong-un, the next pope will be a big basketball fan. Hopefully he's toting a number of throwback Bulls jerseys bearing the new pope's possible name. On the back: "Gregory"; underneath, "XVII".
TMZ asked Rodman what he hoped to accomplish with the trip, to which he replied: "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." Over the course of his career, Rodman committed 2,843 personal fouls, but if Ron Artest can change his name to Metta World Peace, clearly the NBA's qualifications for being a messenger of tranquility are a bit more lax than the rest of the world.
It is not yet known if anyone from Vice will accompany the basketball star, but that would be amusing for a number of reasons.
Please note: We could have made a joke about the "Rodman Catholic church," but we didn't.