Rodman returns, brings message from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

rodman-kim-1Former NBA champion Dennis Rodman is back from his trip to North Korea. He’s safe and well, plus he brought a message from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Rodman, the highest-profile American to meet the new North Korean leader since Kim took power in December 2011 after his father’s death, said Obama and Kim share a love of basketball, so “let’s start there.”

According to Rodman, who spoke on ABC television’s “This Week”, the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un doesn’t want war with the United States. He just wants President Barack Obama to call him.

The State Department distanced itself from Rodman’s visit, and has not issued any statements on what ex-NBA forward said.

Rodman’s trip took place amid strained ties between the U.S. and North Korea over the North’s recent underground nuclear test.

rodman-kim-2I’m from #SOUTH man!!!

Rodman reportedly enjoyed his “basketball diplomacy” trip to North Korea, however it seemed the longer he was there, the more it was affecting him, as people could judge from his tweets.

First, Rodman was “loving everybody”, then he went on to call North Korean leader Kim Jong Un his friend. After that he tweeted that he was hoping to meet the “YouTube phenomenon” on his trip.

Rodman raised some eyebrows when he suggested in a tweet that he might encounter South Korea’s most popular cultural export – the horse-dancing “Gangnam” man, Psy – in North Korea. Obviously, he didn’t.

“Maybe I’ll run into the Gangnam Style dude while I’m here @psy_oppa,” Rodman tweeted.

It is interesting whether Rodman actually believed someone like Psy would have ever been heard of, if he was from North Korea.

International media were quick to seize on Rodman’s tweet. Time ran a story on its website under the headline, “Dennis Rodman May Not Know Which Korea He’s In,” and Reuters published, “Dennis Rodman Gets his ‘Gangnam Style’ Mixed Up in Pyongyang.”

The criticism was all a bit presumptuous, given that Rodman might simply have been joking (he hasn’t yet clarified).

South Korea and North Korea have technically remained at war since the Korean conflict was suspended in a cease fire in 1953. Right now, the South and North Korea are as different as they can be.

Just to make sure there was no confusion, Psy himself weighed in to set the record straight, tweeting to his 2.89 million followers: “@dennisrodman I’m from #SOUTH man!!!”

Psy has been busy fulfilling pseudo-political roles too lately. On Monday, the goofball pop-rapper headlined his country’s presidential inauguration ceremony in Seoul, getting the otherwise solemn crowd of 89,000 to collectively do the “Gangnam Style” horse dance before Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female president, officially took on her title.

Rodman was on a “basketball diplomacy” tour of North Korea with three Harlem Globetrotters players and a film crew from Vice Media. The tour will be part of a TV show Vice is producing to be aired on HBO in April.

Rodman arrived in North Korea to film a television documentary on Tuesday with representatives of the Harlem Globetrotters celebrity team.

A day later on Wednesday, North Korea’s official news agency reported that Rodman along with the Globetrotters held a joint practice with North Korean players.

Whether Rodman joked or he really did not know what Korea he was flying into – no one will be holding him responsible for the tweet, simply because he’s Dennis Rodman.

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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