Dennis Rodman leaves for N. Korea next week with current, former NBA stars


rodman-in-korea-2Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who has struck up a friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, will visit the reclusive state next week to train its basketball team, sponsors said on Dec. 12.

The eccentric former Chicago Bulls star is organising a friendship exhibition game between North Korea and a team of mainly ex-NBA players on January 8, Kim’s birthday.

“We’re doing this because our customers love sport, which is the universal language. Let’s call it ‘hoops not nukes’,” said Rory Scott, a spokesman for the Irish bookmakers.

Scott, who is accompanying Rodman on the trip along with a television documentary crew, said the players in the US team will be announced in the coming days.

“It will be a mix of former NBA players, including a couple of legends, and some young guys,” Scott said.

“Dennis is going to spend some time with the North Korean team this month before the game. We are all getting excited about this now.” he said.

He refused to reveal how much Rodman would be paid for his involvement.

The heavily tattooed Rodman has developed an extraordinary relationship with Kim since making his first trip to North Korea in March, when he declared the young ruler a “friend for life”.

Kim, who was educated in Switzerland, is reported to be a keen basketball fan and especially of the Chicago Bulls, for whom Rodman played a key role in winning three NBA titles alongside Michael Jordan in the 1990’s.

Rodman played in 911 NBA games (573 started), averaging 7.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game. He also won 5 NBA championships (2 with Detroit Pistons, three with Chicago Bulls).

Rodman had his best rebounding season with the Detroit Pistons in 91-92, when he led the league in rebounds per game, with 18.7 rpg.

He was a two-time All-Star, and won the “Defensive Player of the Year” award twice, in 89-90 and 90-91. He led the NBA in rebounds per game 7 times.

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