Rodman builds team spirit in North Korea
On Monday, just back from his second visit to North Korea, basketball star Dennis Rodman held a New York news conference at which he announced plans to put together a team of former NBA all-stars to play in a pair of exhibition games in North Korea in January. He also said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had asked him to coach North Korea’s 2016 Olympic basketball team.
Rodman told American sports writers, “I’ll tell you guys one thing: Take me seriously.” The flamboyant athlete has spent a lifetime making sure that they didn’t.
Rodman is exuberant, candid to a fault, covered with tattoos and body piercings; he has been known to appear in a wedding dress. North Korean athletes keep straight faces on pain of being imprisoned.
In assembling his team, Rodman certainly will want to consider North Korea’s ruler. If he’s half the athlete his father was, Rodman will certainly want him. The first time the elder Kim played golf, he made 11 holes in one, or so the story goes.
Rodman, who calls Kim “the marshal” and claims him as a good friend, has refused to intervene on behalf of an ailing, imprisoned U.S. missionary. Still, Rodman is one of the few foreigners outside of gunshot range who has found anything good to say about Kim:
‘’If he wanted to bomb anybody in the world, he would have done it.”
— Evansville Courier & Press