Dead serious. Former pro basketball star Dennis Rodman is ready to be taken seriously. No … really. Rodman told reporters during a press conference in New York this morning that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had invited him to bring a team of former NBA players to the communist nation in January to play an exhibition game in honor of Kim’s birthday. Rodman also claims he will coach the country’s national basketball team as it prepares for the 2016 Olympics. Rodman repeated assertions that Kim is a “good guy” and that “basketball diplomacy” is the key to bringing America and North Korea closer together. But he also said, “I’ll tell you guys one thing: Take me seriously.” And when you have to preface your announcement with something like that … I mean, come on.
Sudden moves. Carlos Campo, president of Regent University, announced on Friday he was stepping down from his post, effective immediately. Neither Campo nor the university gave any explanation for the sudden leadership change. A Virginia newspaper speculated that the conservative Christian school, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson, had run out of patience with Campo’s strong support for immigration reform. But in an email to Inside Higher Ed, Campo denied the claim: “I can say that my stance on immigration was NOT a factor (Pat Robertson and I align perfectly there—his conservative constituency has long disagreed with him on this issue).” Campo took over Regent’s top spot from Robertson in 2010. He first came to the Virginian Beach, Va., campus in 2008 as chief academic officer.
Also stepping down. Benjamin Jealous, head of the NAACP, will step down at the end of this year. He told USA Today the job has kept him apart for too long from his wife, civil rights lawyer Lia Epperson, and their children, daughter Morgan, 7, and Jack, 13 months. Jealous plans to stay in the Washington, D.C., area and hopes to snag a teaching job at a local university. He also plans to continue fundraising, especially for causes that advocate for more African-Americans in politics. “Leadership knows when to step up and when to step down,” Jealous said. “This day I can say with pride that I’m prepared to step down and make room for the next person who will lead this organization to its next chapter.”
Certified brush strokes. Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum announced today it has conclusively decided a painting brought in by a private collector for evaluation is in fact one of the Impressionist master’s missing pieces. Vincent Van Gogh mentioned “Sunset at Montmajour” in letters to his brother and listed it in an 1890 inventory of his work. But the painting disappeared around the beginning of the 20th century. The museum declined to name the family who now owns the painting but did say members first brought it in for evaluation in 1991. Experts spent two years verifying the painting’s authenticity using a scientific analysis of the canvas and paint pigments. They match those the artist used for other works created in the late 1880s, including “The Sunflowers” and “The Yellow House.”