Dennis Rodman discreetly walked past the Bernini Colonnade near St. Peter’s Square. (Riccardo De Luca / AP)

Updated at 12:08 p.m.

Evidently it isn’t easy to get this diplomacy thing out of your blood.

Fresh from meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Eun, the former NBA player told TMZ that he has flown to Rome, hoping to meet the new Pope. But Rodman had better be prepared to cool his jets for a while. So far, there has been nothing but black smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney, signifying that the cardinals have not chosen Benedict XVI’s successor.

“I want to be anywhere in the world that I’m needed,” Rodman, whose press agent said he planned to appear today in St. Peter’s Square in something resembling a “Popemobile,” told TMZ. “I want to spread a message of peace and love throughout the world.”

Although it was believed that Rodman was hoping to help Ghana’s Cardinal Peter Turkson become the first black pope, the Associated Press reported that he seemed uncertain. “From Africa, right?” Rodman asked. He did say that he was sure the next pope would be black.

Rodman, via the Guardian, said that Pope John Paul II was his favorite pontiff. “He was cool as hell. He pretty much was like a pimp. Sitting up there … speaking like 20,000 different languages … He was great for the world.”

Earlier this week, Rodman announced that he plans to vacation with the Korean leader, whom he said will be a “friend for life,” in August.

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