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Dennis Rodman Brings Friendship and Basketball to North Korea
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Dennis Rodman (ex-NBA star) has been making continuous trips to North Korea on his quest for “basketball diplomacy.” According to CNN, his most recent trip has been his third visit to the “world’s most repressive regimes.” Rodman believes that sports are the way to unite people; it serves as a common ground where people can relate better to each to each other. The former basketball player has been assisting in the training of a North Korean team for their January exhibition in Pyongyang. They will be playing against a team of former NBA players and it will also serve as a birthday celebration for Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader; he has confessed to Rodman that he has a passion for the popular sport. The trip is sponsored by Paddy Power, an online betting company.

The United States isn’t too happy about these recent trips due to the recent troubles between both countries, including the secret nuclear arms situation and the fight for human rights. However, Rodman has told leader Jong Un that “you have a friend for life,” and at a news conference he firmly commented, “He (Jong Un) has to do his job, but he’s a very good guy.” Rodman also believes, “ . . . sport has the power to rise above all issues.” Still, to the United States, Rodman’s friendship is becoming an ongoing issue. Things has since calmed in North Korea and Jong Un’s uncle was recently executed; he was the country’s “second most powerful figure” and was accused of trying to take complete control of the state. Gordon Chang (North Korea and Forbes expert) has called Rodman “really important” to the North Korea regime; he commented, “With Dennis Rodman, we’re going to see a lot of made-for-television events. Everybody’s going to be smiling, everything will appear normal, and this will bolster the regime.”

  
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The detention of Korean-American Kenneth Bae (a Christian missionary with chronic health conditions) also has the United States on edge. His family has begged for his release and has been denied. Rodman appeared to be interested in helping at first, then later boldly said, “It’s not my job to talk about Kenneth Bae. Ask Obama about that, ask Hillary Clinton about that. Ask those —holes.” He has been trying to emphasize that he is not an official diplomat between the U.S. and North Korea, instead giving his attention and full concentration to the upcoming basketball game. The list of former NBA players has yet to be announced.

Image Credit: Getty

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