Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Give Dennis Rodman a Prize for Hubris

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Give Dennis Rodman a Prize for Hubris

Article excerpt

Awarding President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize a few months into his presidency helped establish a terrible and ironic precedent.

By de-coupling the award from the necessity of having actually achieved some genuine peace in the world, the Nobel prize committee opened the door to all sorts of future chicanery.

Enter Dennis "The Worm" Rodman. In late February, Mr. Rodman and that crack diplomatic team known as the Harlem Globetrotters visited North Korea at the invitation of totalitarian tot Kim Jong-un. Their trip was documented by a film crew from HBO's "Vice."

From the beginning, it was obvious that the reception was a propaganda freak show staged to convince the apolitical and geopolitically ignorant Mr. Rodman that the North Korean dictator was ready to "shoot hoops" with the Obama administration.

Several generations ago, Mr. Rodman would've been called a "useful idiot" for playing straight man in such a transparent diplomatic hustle -- but the truth is that he wasn't all that useful, though there was plenty of idiocy to go around. No one from the Obama administration met with him for a debriefing.

Looking back on his time in the hermit kingdom months later, Mr. Rodman sees his role as a dictator's stooge in a more self- aggrandizing light. He knows that Mr. Obama, a figure of some fascination for Kim Jong-un, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize a few years ago simply because he had the good sense not to be George W. Bush.

Mr. Rodman became convinced that all one had to do to get on the short list for a Nobel was be a fairly famous black person. A quick Google search brings up the names of several prominent blacks from around the world who were invited to Oslo once upon a time: Ralph Bunche, Martin Luther King Jr., Wole Soyinka, Nelson Mandela, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Toni Morrison and Kofi Annan.

If you're Dennis Rodman, you can very easily see yourself fitting into that crowd. After all, Mr. Rodman is one of the top power forwards in National Basketball Association history. He has five championship rings and a shelf full of rebounding titles. He was married to Carmen Electra. He stuffed WWE superstar Randy "Macho Man" Savage into a portable toilet during a 1999 pay-per view bout. …

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