The Washington Post

Dennis Rodman: What gives?

If you had bet me ten years ago that Dennis Rodman was going to shock me and it didn't involve a sex change or a crime, I'd have taken that wager.

But hearing today that The Worm has shown up in PopeTown, endorsing a black pope — that takes the cake.

Let's reflect on what's actually happening. After his beyond ridiculous appearance in North Korea, in which he which called one of the most despicable leaders in the world 'a friend,' he declared he wanted to vacation with said guy later this year. He said that to a TV station in Fargo, North Dakota. 

Now, on the dime of a gambling website, he's turned up in Italy, talking popes. Rodman is clearly having the best/worst week ever.

His appearance at a Harlem Globetrotters game with Kim Jong Un was regrettable at best. But chumming with despicable world leaders isn't unique to the NBA hall of gamer. It's in fact, somewhat standard practice for American celebrities. Just ask everyone that performed at the Rumble in the Jungle or Paul Robeson or Beyonce and Usher.

Yet, Rodman wasn't even playing basketball. He was just hanging out. And now, a website has sent him to the European nation and he's making proclamations. He told CBS News,"If he's black, you get your money back," the two-time defensive player of the year said.  "Today we always want to see something different, and this is going to be different. He will be black, he will be black." 

My man is rocking a jacket that looks like it belongs on the wall of a set from 'The Price Is Right' from 20 years ago, in the Vatican City. Pardon me, but that blows my mind. 

I know next to nothing about Catholicism outside of the words "scandal" and "sin," but part of me was rooting for Cardinal Peter Turkson, the current president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, just so that Rodman can vindicate himself as a non-enemy of the state.

Truth is, I like Dennis Rodman. And for whatever reason, I thought he was smarter than what he did in North Korea and plans to apparently do later. He was the kind of basketball player that many of us hate, but some of us love. He was annoying, outrageous and tenacious. He was fined for his behavior relatively frequently and he generally had an attitude problem, according to people that weren't on his wavelength.

Rodman also said that he hopes to meet the new pope when he's chosen. It sounds like something out of a bad video game. How do you top meeting one of the most hated people on Earth? By meeting the new pope, of course.

I've always respected Rodman's hustle on and off the court. But for some reason, after the cross-dressing, the substance abuse, posing in a coffin for a book and The Apprentice, I still wanted to take him somewhat seriously. He seemed like just a weird guy in a weird world.

But, I was still kind of rooting for him and by extension, I guess, a black pope. But I have no idea why. 

Clinton Yates is a D.C. native and an online columnist. When he's not covering the city, pop culture or listening to music, he watches sports. A lot of them.



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