WATCH: Dennis Rodman Defends North Korea Trip in Angry Rant

The former NBA star calls it "a great idea for the world"

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Former NBA star Dennis Rodman angrily defended his trip to North Korea and his bizarre friendship with dictator Kim Jong Un on Tuesday, even as he stumbled to provide a rationale for his latest excursion to the isolated country.

“It’s a great idea for the world,” Rodman said in an interview with CNN, later adding that the trip could help “open the door a little bit” to the world.

Rodman is in North Korea for the fourth time with a team of former NBA players — including ex-All-Stars Kenny Anderson and Cliff Robinson — to play an exhibition match Wednesday in celebration of Kim’s birthday. Activists have long condemned his relationship with the head of the insular and highly authoritarian regime, and critics are up in arms about his latest venture honoring Kim.

(MORE: Rodman Announces NBA Roster for North Korea Game)

“Why do you think this is a good idea?” CNN’s Chris Cuomo asked Rodman, who was surrounded by fellow former NBA players.

Rodman, cigar in hand, said the trip was good for the world and added, apparently referring to Kim: “I love my friend. This is my friend.”

Later, Rodman asked, as a reminder, if people realize “this guy is only 31 years old.”

At another point, the former NBA star grew angry and began yelling at Cuomo. “I don’t give a rat’s ass what the hell you think,” he said. “You are the guy behind the mike right now … We are the guys who have to go back to America and take the abuse.”

Activists say North Korea has one of the worst human-rights track records in the world, with as many as 120,000 political opponents in prison, and Kim last month publicly purged and then executed his high-level uncle. The nuclear-armed country has also repeatedly threatened its neighbors and the U.S., and has held U.S. citizen Kenneth Bae since late 2012.

(MORE: The Upside to Dennis Rodman’s Bizarre North Korea Visits)

White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters later on Tuesday that Rodman had not contacted the government prior to his trip, adding that the U.S. does not vet a private citizen’s travel to North Korea. He declined to comment on Rodman’s CNN interview, in which the former NBA player also suggested that Bae had done something wrong without saying what it was.

“I’m not going to dignify that outburst with a response,” Carney said. “I’m simply going to say that we remain gravely concerned about Kenneth Bae’s health and continue to urge DPRK authorities to grant his amnesty and immediate release on humanitarian grounds.”

At a news conference Monday condemning the trip, New York Democratic Representative Eliot Engel likened playing in the exhibition match to sitting down with Adolf Hitler.

“I don’t think we should ignore the real suffering in this gulag state,” said Engel, the minority leader of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. “And Dennis Rodman wants to go there and play basketball. It would be like inviting Adolf Hitler to lunch.”

During the CNN interview, former NBA player Charles Smith at times stepped in to respond to Cuomo’s questions.

“Outside of what people know of Dennis, you don’t know Dennis. This guy’s got a great heart,” Smith said. “His passion is about children and families. That’s why were here. We’re here because it’s about doing great will around the world.”

— With reporting by Zeke J. Miller

122 comments
john_rambo
john_rambo

Obama's emissary sent to facilitate a surrender to North Korea appears to be losing traction. Maybe has been ghetto pituitary cases aren't the answer.

hanoi007
hanoi007

Dictator (Leader of NK) is best friend of the Looser. Hahaha

KindredSpiritBC
KindredSpiritBC

...when Mr. Rodman, & his followers, are chucked to 120 starving dogs for Kim's (what's-his-name) real "entertainment", possibly prompting WWIII, I feel sorry for the dogs that will be in danger of breaking their teeth on Rodman's facial rings/piercings...WHY, O WHY???? does the US allow this mockery????

Tauntinator
Tauntinator

I hope that the Justice Dept. is keeping a very close eye on this brain dead idiot. It is just a matter of time before this fool commits treason. There is no way he should be running loose all over the world pretending to represent the USA.

wagerssteve
wagerssteve

The N Koreas are stupid for listen to this idiot ! He works for the FBI or CIA I bet ?Put him in jail and break a couple of fingers and he will talk . He"s yellow anyway !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CLo
CLo

He is a complete idiot...Charlie Brown's teacher spoke better...Waaaa wa wa wa!

Bullsgt
Bullsgt

Maybe Denis R. is a mole/spy for the CIA/NSA! He get's access no one else has and can observe, record maybe poison the Lil Kim! It's just an outrageous cover story for espionage!!

Na! That sounds too much like a novel instead of the joke it really is!



vetramon
vetramon

To all the Dennis Rodman haters: You have all the right to rightly (I am sorry) criticize Dennis for making use of the Bill of Rights embedded in the constitution (ARTICLE I of the Bill of Rights). You are doing it, and Dennis is doing it. ARTICLE I specifically give everyone of you this right. Is North Korea an enemy at war with the USA? No, it is not. Is it a dictatorial country with a continuous violations of human rights,according to the morals and way of living of the USA? Of course it is, if we compare the rights that the Americans enjoy with the rights of the North Korean people. The moral outrage of the American People should be, concerning the behavior of Dennis, justified, if the American People could be as vocal and outrageous if you and your government could treat ALL THE DICTATORS  in the same way. Otherwise, you are a bunch of HYPOCRITES AND SANCTIMONIOUS puppets.

Martin Kemp
Martin Kemp

Topical ghetto thug to riches. Learn English.

TimothyWay
TimothyWay

Dennis Rodman Floccinaucinihilipilification piece of OLD MAN poop trying to be all he can be but hasn't come to the realization that he belongs in the pasture with all the other old horses...if he puts anymore metal in his mouth and on his lips he'll be even harder to understand when he dribbles driblets of spit out of his disgusting face when he tries to speak his native tongue... Dribble driblet English.NORTH KOREA CAN KEEP HIS DRIBBLE DRIBLET @SS.

MichaelGilchrease
MichaelGilchrease

rodman, like a lot of black entertainers are so caught up in their own ego they don't know they are not only slapping good people in the face, he blatantly honors murders and liars...but being such a fat ego and black he is numb to truth....what lame man.

Ken Banghart
Ken Banghart

This is sickening. He is very publicly supporting a regime that starves and murders its own citizens. He disrespects every person who puts on a uniform to defend this country.

Kamen Kunchev
Kamen Kunchev

People should really attend primary school. I think the US education system failed in DR. This guy is a mess. What a cartoon character.

omega_pulse
omega_pulse

Very weird. Rodman seems to think the only factor at play here is his friendship with the dictator, and his attempt to open them up to the outside world. He doesn't even acknowledge all the horrible things going on in that country.

whatsinaname
whatsinaname

DR is a public embarrassment to the US. He is merely a pawn for Kim. The "Great Leader" will use him to show his "loyal" subjects how uneducated, undisciplined and fickle the Americans are. Team Kim 1, Team DR/US 0.

tsoraci
tsoraci

Is he on drugs or does he always talk like that?

craigslistrr
craigslistrr

Well, there you have folks. Dennis rodman at his finest. That soothing salve of diplomacy, The sultan of hog wash, that seeker of attention.. A Man with nothing better to do then drag a few basketball buddies into his circle of illusion. I give you the NEXT noble peace prize candidate!! Lets all give him a big giant kiss for such an eloquently put articulated way of explaining why he flies all the way to North Korea, to Asia's finest example of Human rights violations, So his little Asian friend can watch him shoot a few hoops with a few well fed North koreans..All the while, 24 Million starving North Koreans and hanging on his every word.. you know, because Basketball is so front and center in a country that cant even feed it's self.

harrismh777
harrismh777

World peace through world trade...  world peace through world games... world peace through cultural exchange.


Let's sit back a see what comes of this diplomacy. I pray for the peace of Korea, and I pray for Kim Jong Un.  Dennis is perhaps (in part) the answer of God to those prayers.  A little basketball can go a long way... certainly better than missiles and certainly better than bombs.  


I do not believe the evil stories I hear coming from N. Korea.  I am willing to think about this critically. I am willing to give Kim Jong Un an opportunity to be a good world citizen.  I know that we both love basketball.  Maybe there are other things we both love.  Maybe we can be friends.  


Dennis is showing some major hutspa...  let him have his day.  We'll see.


Cheers

JasonOwen
JasonOwen

Kim Jong Un: Would you like to inspect my Prize Dogs?


Rodman: They don't bite do they?


Kim Jong Un: Oh no i fed them the other day, so they should be alright. Since then you could say these dogs are like family to me.

PaulJKrupin
PaulJKrupin

How much is Dennis Rodman getting paid to be over there? His conflict of interest is so obvious and he is ranting because he is upset for being called on the carpet for his actions. He needs to put on his big girl panties and face the reality of life. 

Anon2012_2014
Anon2012_2014

I'm sorry, but we know little or nothing about Kim Jong Un. 


We know about the behavior of the North Korean Government.   We know they kill and imprison.


But we really don't know if Kim ordered it, and if it was a preventative move to prevent his assassination.


Rodman is the only person who can find out.  Let us wait and see if anything good comes of this.  


And Charles Smith -- he speaks well.  He appears intelligent and with it.  He is a good person to have on the "away" team.


Jodi Elizabeth
Jodi Elizabeth

Unless he has a camera and a microphone shoved up his rear, and is a secret agent garnering secrets, he is pretty much at the point of needing a straight jacket.

BigDFL
BigDFL

Am I the only one that can tell he is F&*(ING COKED UP out of his mind ?????????  He can barely even talk b/c he parties like a Rock star!  WERQ.

HateToSayItbut
HateToSayItbut

Right at about 3 minutes in I think you can actually see the "reporter" get a hard-on. They wanted to make this into an international incident rather than a stupid game between some midgets and a group of has-beens and never-was.

Here we all sit and %99 in here actually believe that this makes Rodman some sort of traitor. Look, Junior likes basketball. it is better than daddy who liked shooting poor people. So now there is a chance that some sort of connection can be made with the ruler of a nation that we want to help but that won't trust us enough to even let tourists come across their borders.

No matter how stupid it is or how it turns out it is the best chance for some sort of exchange between our people in YEARS... DECADES! Why the hell not? You think Reagan and Gorbachev got to reconciliation without some sort of simple exchange of ideas and assurances? Sometimes all it takes is the smallest little connection between a peoples for them to realize they are not nearly as evil as they BOTH are taught.

Fabian Rivera
Fabian Rivera

Maybe the us can revoke his citizenship and passport. Lets see how rodman likes it over there as a north korean. I can assure you of this he wont be walking around in wedding dresses anymore :-p

BorisIII
BorisIII

He's a child.  Bad attention is better than no attention.

Jeremy R Hill
Jeremy R Hill

Dude, maybe lay off the whiskey before an interview? I never liked that clown..

Mary Canaday Gray
Mary Canaday Gray

What do you suggest? I would rather the POTUS work on problems here in the US than worry about a narcissistic has been b'ball player...

alansky
alansky

Honestly, to judge by this performance, it appears that Dennis Rodman doesn't have a whole lot left to lose. He sounds almost incoherent—definitely not firing on all cylinders. Scary.

BenG
BenG

Look how he looks, look how he talks, look who his FRIENDS are... Poor guy craving for attention. He thinks he is important and the press is helping him to feed his EGO. Shame on him and his way of living.


raidx259
raidx259

I think Rodman's brain is fried. Look how coherent and well spoken Charles Smith sounds at 1:50.

schlong
schlong

@vetramon It is the 1st Amendment not article 1 and yes we are at war with North Korea. We never signed a peace treaty to end the war, hence all the troops on the border.

GregInes
GregInes

@calvinhobbs  Dennis seemed to be drunk, and perhaps he will sober up and deal with Chris' question about Mr. Bae, who is in prison for being a Christian. Sad that Dennis could possibly help his fellow-American, but all Dennis wants is personal hype, and nothing else!


Bullsgt
Bullsgt

@omega_pulse That's because D Rodman is a petty narcissist and in his mind it is all about him.

harrismh777
harrismh777

@tsoraci    He has a story to tell...  listen through his "talk" and try to understand what he's saying...


... drugs is the least of it..



harrismh777
harrismh777

@craigslistrr   Maybe we could help them feed their people... maybe we could help then find ways to be in the human community without throwing our weight around.   Maybe, just maybe, instead of finding fault with Dennis for trying to make a difference, we could follow his example and try to make a difference ourselves.


I believe...

telstariv
telstariv

@harrismh777The NY Philharmonic went there with Amanpour as the journalist.  Nothing at all good came of it...except restarting nuclear reactors.

Don_Ko
Don_Ko

@Anon2012_2014 I agree fully that Charles Smith should be doing all the speaking and Rodman doing the playing.


For one thing, poor Rodman is clearly under the influence of some combination of alcohol and/or drugs too and is simply too emotionally (chemically) engaged/influenced with his pre-conceived ideological position on a number of issues.


I respect Rodman for having a fantastical cause and ideal, dont' get me wrong, but he's just making the matters worse by his methods being employed, sadly.


But as for Charles Smith's eloquent opinions are concerned, politics are unfortunately inherent in this whole 'venture' and evident in the core of the trip.  The mere fact that Rodman's articulated stance on this visit is to promote and imply the 'Regime' as a bright leadership and worthy leadership for the country, e.g., is completely political.  


Any legitimacy being showcased in support for the ruling NK Regime is simply up for justified criticism and is not proactive, I'm sorry.  Such 'regime-advocacy' should flat-out be called out as being unacceptable..


However, should the NK people be greeted and contacted accordingly one-on-one as human beings, in a humanitarian light?  Of course and that is where most people would probably agree the spirit and mission of Rodman's venture should be directed -- to the man-on-the-street NK people who have the capacity, through love, of being just like any other person on the face of the Earth!  


Unfortunately though...therein is the problem, as the 'Regime' would not support such loving and independent contact and support.  The Regime would not accept any hints of suggestions or hopes by Rodman and team to become more modern and to allow more basic civil-rights and freedoms.  Rather, Rodman is solely reinforcing hardline Regime existence and status quo.

joyer29
joyer29

@Don_Ko Rodman is a sick person, always has been. C. Smith should already know that and stayed away.

Don_Ko
Don_Ko

@joyer29 @Don_Ko 


C. Smith seems like a loving person at his core being.  I don't see anything inconsistent with a personality like him seeking to reach out with unconditional love to a person like Rodman.  I don't see a problem with that and it's probably the way Smith is wired.  A lot of people could totally relate to that spirit and appreciate it, too.  The question then, is arguably to encourage employing that love fully and incorporate it unconditionally to promote more healthy lifestyle and balanced morals and humanitarian, civil philosophy, etc.