North Korea trip turns bad for Rodman, who checks into alcoholism rehab center


rodman-bullsShortly after returning from North Korea, former NBA player Dennis Rodman has checked into an undisclosed alcohol rehabilitation center to treat his long-time struggle with alcoholism, AP reported.

Rodman’s agent Darren Prince declined to say which facility Rodman was in, and how long he will stay there.

After returning from North Korea with fellow ex-NBA stars Vin Baker, Clifford Robinson, Doug Christie, Charles Smith and Kenny Anderson, Rodman apologized for comments he made in North Korea about a detained American missionary, saying he had been drinking and was under pressure as he organized an exhibition game there.

“What was potentially a historic and monumental event turned into a nightmare for everyone concerned,” Prince said. “Rodman came back from North Korea in pretty rough shape emotionally. The pressure that was put on him to be a combination `super human’ political figure and `fixer’ got the better of him.”

“He is embarrassed, saddened and remorseful for the anger and hurt his words have caused.”

Rodman, known as much for his piercings, tattoos and bad behavior as he was for basketball, was the highest-profile American to meet Kim since Kim inherited power from father Kim Jong Il in 2011.

He traveled to the secretive state for the first time last February with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television.

But the 52-year-old Rodman has been denounced for not trying to use his influence with Kim to secure the release of Kenneth Bae, an American missionary with health problems who is being held in North Korea on charges of “anti-state” crimes.

He organized a group of retired NBA players to travel to North Korea for that exhibition game.  Rodman dedicated the contest to his “best friend” Kim, who along with his wife and other senior officials and their wives watched from a special seating area.

The capacity crowd of about 14,000 at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium clapped loudly as Rodman sang a “Happy Birthday” song to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at the start of the friendly game.

Rodman had an angry meltdown before the game on CNN, defending his decision to travel to North Korea.

“People forget Dennis is just an entertainer and retired NBA star,” Prince said. “The fact remains that a basketball game was played in North Korea live in front of 14,000 people and hundreds of millions around the world viewed clips of the game.”

Rodman was a two-time All-Star, and playing in 911 career NBA games, he averaged 7.3 points and 13.1 rebounds per game.

More photos: Former NBA players in North Korea

VIDEO: Retired NBA stars against North Korean team

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