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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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September 9th, 2013
07:15 PM ET

Why Dennis Rodman's basketball diplomacy with North Korea won't work

Flashy scarf aficionado and former NBA star Dennis Rodman has become an unlikely liaison to the world's most isolated dictator.

"He's my friend. If you hate my guts, hate my guts, he's my friend," Rodman said of North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.

The cross-dressing, face-piercing bad boy announced a plan Monday to unite America and North Korea through basketball, Kim's favorite sport.

Rodman just returned from his second friendly visit to Pyongang, paid for this time by gambling website "Paddy Power." While he was there, it seems he and Kim formed a grand, diplomatic plan.

Step One: Gather some of America's best athletes, and have them perform for a packed stadium in North Korea to mark the dictator's birthday.

"First game would be January 8. He said, 'You want our stadium? We'll give it to you. We have 150,000 kids would do anything for you on the field. We got 95,000 people be in this stadium watching this game,'" said Rodman.

Step Two: Have one of the best re-bounders in American history train the North Koreans to play competitive basketball on a national stage.

"He said, 'Dennis, we'd love you to do one thing for us. For the next Olympics, can you train our Olympic team to compete in (the) Olympics for the next three years?' I'm like, 'Okay,'" said Rodman.

Step Three: Write a book.

"It will be a best seller. He gave me the rights, for me and him to sit down for one month, and me and him is going to write a book together. There we go," said Rodman.

"It is buffoonery amplified because of who Dennis Rodman is," said The Atlantic's Steve Clemons. "It's very unfortunate that this great basketball player and star in the United States is allowing himself to be duped by Kim Jung Un."

But Rodman says this time, his sponsored antics are no joke.

"Take me seriously, because I have the only interview with this guy. I'm going to write a book about this guy," said Rodman.

While celebrities are often blurring the line between politics and publicity stunts, few are laughing at actors Angelina Jolie's causes, George Clooney's protests, or Ben Affleck's aid work.

So why not take Rodman's basketball diplomacy to heart?

"Dennis Rodman is a very confused man, who's not very sophisticated about U.S. foreign policy, and what our stakes our in terms of trying to guide North Korea in a very different direction, " said Clemons.

While Rodman and his sponsors hope to settle U.S.-North Korea differences with a bit of hoops, President Barack Obama won't be adding North Korea to his brackets any time soon.

Rodman also said he will interview Kim on live television when he returns. One way or another, that will be some must-watch TV.

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