NEW YORK, July 3 (UPI) -- Former NBA player Dennis Rodman said "something's wrong" if he isn't considered for the next Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in North Korea.
Rodman told Sports Illustrated he didn't know who North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was before he arrived in Pyongyang earlier this year and struck up a quick friendship with the ruler.
"I didn't know what country he ruled or what went on in the country he ruled," Rodman said, adding that he now considers Kim a "friend for life."
"Fact is, he hasn't bombed anywhere he's threatened to yet. Not South Korea, not Hawaii, not ... whatever. People say he's the worst guy in the world," Rodman said. "All I know is Kim told me he doesn't want to go to war with America. His whole deal is to talk basketball with Obama. Unfortunately, Obama doesn't want to have anything to do with him. I ask, Mr. President, what's the harm in a simple phone call? This is a new age, man. Come on, Obama, reach out to Kim and be his friend."
Rodman said he plans to return to North Korea in August to "chill" and perhaps go on vacation with the leader and his family.
He said he asked Kim to release Kenneth Bae, the Korean-American missionary sentenced to serve 15 years hard labor for allegedly trying to topple the regime.
"My mission is to break the ice between hostile countries," Rodman said. "Why it's been left to me to smooth things over, I don't know. Dennis Rodman, of all people. Keeping us safe is really not my job; it's the black guy's [Obama's] job. But I'll tell you this: If I don't finish in the top three for the next Nobel Peace Prize, something's seriously wrong."