Don’t Mention the Uncle: Rodman Says His North Korea Trip Is Just About Sport

Dennis Rodman says his trip to North Korea is for basketball not politics

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Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman speaks at a news conference in New York on Sept. 9, 2013

Following the execution of North Korea’s second in command Jang Song Thaek last week, five-time NBA champ Dennis Rodman says he’ll be focused on basketball and having fun, not talking politics, when he arrives in the Hermit Kingdom later today.

The Worm is traveling to the pariah nation to help train a North Korean basketball squad who are set to square off with a group of former NBA players, including Rodman, during an exhibition match in the country’s capital next month.

“I mean, whatever his uncle has done, and whoever’s done anything in North Korea, I have no control over that. I mean, these things have been going on for years and years and years,” Rodman told Reuters before leaving his hotel in Beijing for the airport.

“I’m just going over there to do a basketball game and have some fun.”

Legendary for his ability to incite controversy, Rodman has traveled to North Korea on several occasions and has reportedly established a friendship with the country’s ironfisted leader Kim Jong Un, which has drawn criticism from human-rights advocates who say the Worm has ignored the horrendous plight of the country’s oppressed population.