Skip to content

North Korea wanted Jordan, eventually settled for Rodman

Feb 28, 2013, 3:32 PM EST

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. Dallas moves into title contender status with addition of Rajon Rondo

    Dec 19, 2014, 1:01 AM EST

    Rajon Rondo AP

    Rondo moves the Mavs into contender status in the West. Problem is that is a crowded field.

  2. Kevin Durant turns ankle, leaves game not to return; X-rays negative.

    Dec 19, 2014, 12:46 AM EST

    Oklahoma City Thunder v Golden State Warriors Getty Images

    The team officially described the sprain as “mild.”

  3. Phil Jackson takes to Twitter to defend Knicks trading Tyson Chandler to Mavericks

    Dec 18, 2014, 11:00 PM EST

    Phil Jackson, James Dolan, executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Company AP

    Phil responds to an article ripping the Knicks for making the deal.

  4. Carmelo Anthony considering shutting down because of knee injury

    Dec 18, 2014, 7:35 PM EST

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    Anthony has been advised that sitting out would be smart.

  5. Why Tim Duncan’s buzzer beater last night looked familiar

    Dec 18, 2014, 4:45 PM EST

    Utah Jazz vs San Antonio Spurs Utah Jazz vs San Antonio Spurs

    Spurs star made same clutch shot a decade ago against Lakers

  6. Wesley Matthews not thrilled to find referee’s junk in his face (video)

    Dec 18, 2014, 3:40 PM EST

    New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers New York Knicks v Portland Trail Blazers

    Trail Blazers guard just waiting to check into game, when his personal space gets violated

  7. Andrew Bogut undergoes PRP therapy on knee, out indefinitely

    Dec 18, 2014, 3:09 PM EST

    Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors - Game Six Getty Images

    The Warriors are +15.8 per 100 when he is on the court. They will miss him.

  8. Report: Add the Clippers to the list of teams pursuing Corey Brewer (with Rockets, Cavs)

    Dec 18, 2014, 12:22 PM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Minnesota Timberwolves Getty Images

    It would be very difficult for the Clippers to find a deal Minnesota would like.

Featured video

Can red hot Warriors sustain success?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Favors (7267)
  2. K. Martin (6604)
  3. A. Davis (6554)
  4. D. Cousins (6495)
  5. J. Noah (6332)
  1. A. Bogut (6314)
  2. T. Jones (6056)
  3. D. Lee (5931)
  4. C. Bosh (5701)
  5. B. Lopez (5540)