Skip to content

North Korea wanted Jordan, eventually settled for Rodman

Feb 28, 2013, 3:32 PM EDT

Retired U.S. NBA basketball player Rodman is welcomed by Son, Vice Chairman of North Korea's Olympic Committe, as he arrives in Pyongyang Reuters

If you had to choose between Michael Jordan and Dennis Rodman… why am I even asking this? We’d all make the same choice.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is the same way — he’s actually an NBA fan, particularly the 1990s Bulls just like his late father (Kim Jong Il). Seriously.

Vice Media sent a group to North Korea to do some basketball diplomacy (and make an HBO documentary slated for April), something welcomed by the usually closed North Korean government. Their first request was for one Michael Jordan nearly a decade ago, reported the San Diego Union Tribune (via the Washington Post).

The following year, Jordan’s management team was approached about the athlete making a goodwill trip to Pyongyang to meet Kim. The North Korean government, according to documents obtained by The San Diego Union-Tribune, sent a letter authorizing the request, and Samsung, a South Korean electronics company interested in promoting reunification of the Koreas, had offered to underwrite the venture.

Jordan respectfully declined.

So they eventually went with another legendary Bulls player, Rodman.

And he and Kim hit it off, reports the Los Angeles Times.

According to a spokesman for the film crew, Rodman told Kim that “You have a friend for life.”

It’s Rodman. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Cavaliers-Nets Joe Johnson trade talks stagnate

    Jul 6, 2015, 1:36 PM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    Nobody wants Anderson Varejao and his contract

  2. Report: Nuggets hire Ed Pinckney as assistant coach

    Jul 6, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    Fred Hoiberg, Ed Pinckney AP

    Michael Malone lands a good lieutenant

  3. Who is left: 15 best free agents still on the board

    Jul 6, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    Dallas Mavericks v Indiana Pacers Getty Images

    The best guy widely available? David West.

  4. Video: Tyler Johnson hits Summer League game-winner for Heat with .4 on clock

    Jul 6, 2015, 12:28 AM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat Brooklyn Nets v Miami Heat

    Whether regular season or Summer League, we love us some buzzer beaters.

  5. Report: Lakers near deal to sign Brandon Bass, may trade Nick Young

    Jul 5, 2015, 8:59 PM EDT

    Brandon Bass, Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston AP

    The Lakers will need to move Young to clear the cap space for their other moves.

  6. Report: Cleveland Cavaliers considering trade for Joe Johnson

    Jul 5, 2015, 6:00 PM EDT

    New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets

    Dan Gilbert is not afraid to write checks.

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. L. Aldridge (6234)
  2. D. Jordan (3961)
  3. D. Wade (3953)
  4. W. Matthews (3883)
  5. R. Rondo (3420)
  1. K. Bryant (3169)
  2. T. Harris (3109)
  3. R. Lopez (3083)
  4. L. James (3038)
  5. G. Monroe (2941)