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.



Rodman might be weird, but so far his stupid and bold move to make friends with an unlikeable person, might teach that guy a few things.  He was taught the wrong stuff, has no idea how the rest of the world works.  An invitation to this country might not be something so bad.  Invite him to go fishing in Alaska.  He can't get into that much trouble up there, let him taste some of the Alaskan hospitality, expose him to a town in the middle of nowhere and then take him to a mall like the big mall in Orlando, Florida and let him see all the people working, shopping and just playing window shopping.  Sometimes, simple ideas work the best.


We already know that the most unlikely people are CIA agents. Valerie Plame is the wife of an U.S. ambassador, but she was also a CIA operations officer.

Dennis Rodman could be working for the U.S. government as a trusted back-channel for secure communication. Firstly, Dennis Rodman does not have a history of leaving the United States to visit scary dictators. Also, it is extremely unusual for Dennis Rodman to insist on visiting Kim Jong Un after he has executed a close family member and others.

Secondly, the more interesting question is: Why is Kim Jong Un receiving Dennis Rodman? The pretext is that Kim Jong Un likes basketball. So what? Dennis Rodman is a long-retired basketball player. He is not a current star.

Thirdly, how many other ex-celebrities have visited Kim Jong Un? None. As the stalinist dictator of impoverished North Korea, Kim Jong Un is busy and has his hands full. He has to worry about military coups and running a country. He does not have time to "hang out" with Dennis Rodman.


@ChinaLee The North Koreans are so indoctrinated that he does not need to be watching.  He has his slave workers to do that for him, so in essense, he has all the time in the world.  He does not need to be a star to teach young kids how to play.  Let Rodman do something  positive by teaching how other people live, work, play and eat.