Dennis Rodman: Next pope "will be black"

VATICAN CITY Ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman has been turning up in the strangest places.

On the heels of a tour of the North Korean capital Pyongyang, where he professed his friendship to leader and U.S. top-antagonist Kim Jong Un, CBS News caught up with the flamboyant basketball player in Vatican City, in his new capacity as a front-man for the Irish gambling company Paddy Power.

The online betting behemoth chose Rodman to help promote its offered odds on who will be chosen by the Catholic cardinals as the next pope.

Though he insists he doesn't gamble, "on stuff like that," Rodman wasn't shy about telling CBS News who he thought the next pontiff would be.

"Today we always want to see something different, and this is going to be different. He will be black, he will be black," professed the former all-star forward.

He suggested Ghana's Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson was the man to win it. Turkson has been named as a contender in the conclave, should the cardinals decide to elect their first pontiff in modern times from outside of Europe.

Paddy Power, incidentally, has Italian Cardinal Angelo Scola as a clear front-runner, at least in terms of betting odds.

Rodman said he hoped to meet the new pope while in Rome, whoever he may be.

  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.