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Dennis Rodman flies to Rome, hopes to meet with new Pope

Dennis Rodman flew to Rome on Tuesday with the hopes of meeting the Pope. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images) Dennis Rodman flew to Rome on Tuesday with the hopes of meeting the Pope. (Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images)

Just when it seemed like it couldn't get any stranger than Dennis Rodman flying to North Korea to meet with leader Kim Jong-Un, the "worm" flew to Rome on Tuesday with the hopes of meeting the new Pope at some point.

The NBA Hall of Famer might be there for a while. The Cardinals who gathered at the Vatican had not reached a decisive vote Tuesday night after the first ballot was cast.

Rodman told TMZ that he wants to help spread "peace and love" and believes that his recent visit to North Korea and his trip to Rome will help accomplish that goal:

"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."

It sounds like this could be the start of a global tour for Rodman, who has fashioned himself as a sort of unofficial U.S. diplomat to world political and religious leaders, using his basketball fame as a means to open doors. The Where's Waldo-character also announced on Tuesday that he will return to North Korea in August for a vacation with Kim Jong-Un, a man Rodman regards as a "friend for life."

NBA commissioner David Stern spoke out against Rodman's recent trip to North Korea, calling his visit "ridiculous" and said any meetings with leaders like Kim Jong-Un should be done through the State Department:

"I think it's ridiculous. I think that if you're going to meet someone with the record on human rights, and nuclear testing in a reckless way, counterfeiting U.S. dollars, and exporting a horrible brand of whatever it is that he's exporting, starving his people, and locking them up, it should be done only in conjunction with the State Department with an agenda. If not, you shouldn't go."
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