Why Dennis Rodman Should be the 2013 Traveler of the Year

The Global America
Associated Press
In an awards snub deserving of a 15-year sentence in a North Korean reeducation camp, the usually perceptive folks at National Geographic Traveler have shockingly left Dennis Rodman off their second annual Travelers of the Year list. North Korea's supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, and his "friend for life," Rodman, will be most displeased with this egregious dis of "The Worm."

NatGeo's roundup, populated with humanitarian-minded globetrekkers who "engage with the world in meaningful ways," needs Dennis. As Rodman starts his third North Korea trip tomorrow (this time to train the country's basketball team for an early-January exhibition game against former NBA players), here are three reasons why "Basketball Diplomacy" warrants NatGeo's highest accolade.

3. Nukes, schmukes.

During Rodman's first visit with Kim Jong-un, the regime flaunted its most recent nuclear test in the face of his traveling party like an old Karl Malone "pose" dunk. Did that phase the five-time NBA champ? No way. A polite, thoughtful traveler, Rodman shook hands with his new bestie, Kim Jong-un, sat with him courtside at a Harlem Globetrotters exhibition, and even serenaded the junior dictator with a karaoke "My Way" at a dinner party -- all in the spirit of global thermonuclear peace. Top that, John Kerry.

2. Firing squads? It's all good.

Back in August, borrowing a page from the French execution playbook, Kim Jong-un disposed of his ex-girlfriend, Mata Hari-style. Her crime? Reportedly starring in a homemade sex video that greatly shamed Dear Leader 2.0. (Note to self and North Koreans: Take sledgehammer to old hard drives.)

Though he once dated Madonna, and later married Carmen Electra, apparently the green-haired good-will ambassador has little issue with bimbos going down in a hail of machine gun fire. And what about Kim Jong-un's "Worse Than a Dog" uncle eating lead just last week? "Hey man, it's part of their culture," is what we imagine Rodman must be thinking. And isn't "Live and Let Die Live" the sign of a great traveler?

1. History Maker.

In a Howard Stern Show interview, Rodman said of his meeting with Kim Jong-un, "That was history, right there." Never mind that Diplomat Dennis can't pronounce Guantanamo Bay; in a press conference he called it "Guana-matata." And who cares if the President won't take his calls; the Pierced One has griped "Why, Obama, are you afraid to talk to Dennis Rodman?"

We're sold. And if the NatGeo editors are planning any of those once-in-a-lifetime stories on hiking the Korean DMZ, they'd be wise to go along for the Rodman ride as well.
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