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Dennis Rodman is back in North Korea to train their national team

Dec 19, 2013, 1:50 PM EDT

US-NKOREA-DIPLOMACY-BASKET-RODMAN Getty Images

I genuinely believe there can be “basketball diplomacy.” I think the average person in North Korea is not really different than us — they care about their families, they try to be good to their neighbors, they worry about the future — and sometimes something simple like bonding over a sport together can help bring out those commonalities. It’s a small step, but it’s a step.

I also don’t think that’s what Dennis Rodman is accomplishing anymore. I’m not sure what he’s accomplishing. Or thinking.

But he’s back in North Korea right now, CNN reports.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Thursday, the country’s state-run media reported….

The former player and a documentary crew were scheduled to spend four days helping to train a team of North Korean basketball players for a January exhibition in Pyongyang.

That January 8 exhibition — said to be against a yet-unannounced team of former NBA players — will celebrate the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom Rodman has called a friend and a “very good guy” despite international condemnation of the country’s human rights records.

Rodman has said he has players willing to commit for that exhibition game, I’ll believe it when I see it.

Kim Jong Un is reportedly a big NBA fan and in particular a big Jordan era Bulls fan. Hence his affection for Dennis Rodman. And that affection is mutual. Good for them.

It’s not basketball diplomacy. It’s not any kind of diplomacy.

  1. davidly - Dec 19, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    I also don’t think that’s what Dennis Rodman is accomplishing anymore.
    So he was, and now he isn’t? What changed your mind?

    • redbaronx - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      @davidly – Right on. This was never about diplomacy. It’s just Rodman needing some media love and attention. Fine by me. I just hope no current NBA player is stupid enough to try going over there. Just imagine if one of those NK imbeciles decide they didn’t like something a player said or did while over there and kept them for “spying”! I’m not sure Rodman realizes that is a very real possibility.

      • davidly - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        I’m only curious about what changed the author’s opinion, since it is not stated in the post. The level of imbecility–or mendacity or moral decadence or irredeemable corruption–of this or that state doesn’t really interest me.

      • redbaronx - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:39 PM

        @davidly – I’m not sure Kurt thought that comment through. He’s talking about this as if something has changed between his 1st trip and his new trip. The only difference is Rodman plans to bring people with him for this training camp.

      • asimonetti88 - Dec 19, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        I don’t know if it’s all about media love, remember, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t think the attention hurts, but I think in his mind he’s still doing a good thing.

      • redbaronx - Dec 22, 2013 at 10:56 AM

        @asimonetti88 – I didn’t say it was a bad thing. Anytime an American goes over to a country where a regime is repressive, I’m for it. It gives people in that country a bit of an idea of what’s on the outside.

        I’m not going to get into Rodman’s intentions, but I certainly thinks he’s always enjoyed getting media attention.

  2. antistratfordian - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    I think the average person in North Korea is not really different than us

    Wow. That’s like something from 1955. You mean people can be people in communist countries too!? No way!

    With regards to Rodman – anything the North Koreans do that leads to them opening their borders and their minds to the West is a good thing for human civilization. It’s probably best that it’s Dennis Rodman and not someone more traditional – because accepting average Americans isn’t going to be so much of a leap if they start with him.

    And it doesn’t matter that Rodman comes back being an apologist for them (a lot of people were upset about that), because no one takes him seriously anyway, so what he brings back from North Korea is irrelevant. The important thing is that the North Koreans are welcoming him and continue to do so.

  3. azarkhan - Dec 19, 2013 at 3:56 PM

    The Communist North Koreans are savages. If Rodman wants to see the real North Korea, he should be interned in a slave labor camp and worked/starved to death. But that doesn’t sound much like “fun”, does it?

  4. beavertonsteve - Dec 19, 2013 at 5:59 PM

    Maybe Rodman should invite Kim’s uncle to watch some practices.

  5. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 19, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    Article left out the best part. The two sang Karaoke, and Rodman sang a Pearl Jam tune. Rodman might be a lot smarter than we thought.

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