ROME (CBSNewYork) — Basketball star Dennis Rodman was in St. Peter’s Square Wednesday to help Cardinal Peter Turkson from Ghana become the first black pope.
“He’s going to be black, guys — I’m letting you know he’s going to be black,” Rodman told reporters when asked who he was promoting. “The one from Ghana — the black one.”
His trip is being organized by the Irish betting firm Paddy Power that is putting $1 million on the line that the cardinals will elect a black pope, a spokesman for the firm told reporters.
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The spokesman said Turkson is currently in the lead, adding that Rodman was there to “spread the gospel of pope betting.”
This is the second stop on Rodman’s bizarre global tour that started with a trip to North Korea last month where the Hall of Famer met with Kim Jong Un.
When asked by 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa if he considers himself to be a diplomat of sorts, Rodman said he has no particular “mission” with his recent travels.
“I just like to go around — I just love people and right now, as an older man, I’m understanding how life works,” he said. “A lot of things right now are really changing around the world and each day that I go by, I see a lot of difficult things that are really not right — so now that I have a little bit of power, I need to go around and at least talk about it.”
He added he doesn’t really care who wins the papal election, just as long as “you believe in what he says and what he does.”
Rodman said he also plans on meeting the new pope, whoever he is, in the near future.
“If I was a betting man, I think I’d probably meet the pope in a couple of months,” he told Papa, adding he doesn’t need to put in a request. “I just got to come back here and walk through.”
Rodman had planned to enter St. Peter’s Square in a custom-built “pope-mobile,” but the vehicle had reportedly been delayed by snow in northern Italy.
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