Clifford Robinson: We should’ve asked Dennis Rodman more about North Korea

clifford-robinson-koreaNorth Korea’s atrocities, and the imprisonment of American Kenneth Bae, were unknown to at least one of the players who traveled to the country with Dennis Rodman.

Cliff Robinson also claimed that he was unaware that the players would be taking part in a birthday celebration for leader Kim Jong Un.

He refused to fault Rodman for what transpired in Korea. He said the players should have researched the current situation in Korea on their own. And they should have asked Rodman more questions about the trip.

“Dennis is a great guy,” Robinson said, “Dennis is going to be Dennis. I don’t want to sit here and ever put someone I’ve supported and throw them under the bus.”

“The trip happened quick, but we probably could have done a little bit more homework about what was going on or asked Dennis more questions,” Robinson said on CNN.

He told CNN the players went through a range of emotions while in North Korea. All went with the same goals he had, Robinson said. “I guess we didn’t realize how much of an outcry we were going to get from home.”

He said he believed the point of the trip was to “spread the love of basketball,” but was “disappointed” in the fallout since the trip, though he didn’t blame or call on Rodman to apologize for it.

The one-time Sixth Man of the Year added that while the Bae situation is “over our head” and best left to diplomats, he hoped their trip to North Korea can “soften up” the country in its relations with the United States.

“I went to Korea to interact with the people, their national team, play a exhibition game. Just try to spread the love of basketball,” he said.

Robinson, along with other former NBA players Charles Smith, Doug Christie, Kenny Anderson and Vin Baker visited North Korea with Dennis Rodman to play in a couple of friendly games with North Korea’s national team earlier in January.

Robinson played 19 seasons in the NBA, appearing in total of 1380 games (started in 844). He played for Portland TrailBlazers, Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets.

Robinson, a 1994 NBA All-star, averaged career high 21.3 ppg for Portland in 1993-94 season. He holds career averages of 14.2 ppg and 4.6 rpg in 30.8 mpg.


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