It was one of the most bizarre moments for both North Korea experts and basketball lovers: The leader of the world’s most reclusive state, Kim Jong-un, and Dennis Rodman, also known as “The Worm,” watching a game together in Pyongyang.
Whether he was acting as a messenger of peace delivering Kim’s message that he wants U.S. President Barack Obama to call him, or whether the event was a stunt to revive his celebrity status, Rodman drew international attention as the first American to have ever met the young leader.
Upon his return to the U.S., Rodman held an exclusive interview with broadcaster ABC and delivered the peace message.
“He (Kim) said, ‘If you can, Dennis ― I don’t want (to) do war.’ He said that to me,” the former Chicago Bulls player said. “I said, ‘Obama loves basketball. Let’s start there.’”
While sharing such ideas for world peace, Kim and his newest friend reportedly enjoyed an extravagant 10-course meal accompanied by vintage wines.
It seems that Rodman did not care about Pyongyang’s previous threats against the U.S. or Kim’s indifference to millions of his own people starving.
Instead, Rodman called the third-generation dictator, “awesome,” and said he had seen the family being respected in the country, a comment which caused a stir.
“There is nobody at the CIA who could tell you more personally about Kim Jong-un than Dennis Rodman. And that in itself is scary,” Stephen Ganyard, a former deputy assistant to the U.S. secretary of state, was quoted as saying to ABC news.
“The next time you go back, you should bring this report by the Human Rights Watch and maybe ask some questions about that,” the ABC show host George Stephanopoulos told Rodman.
“Guess what. I will take the report. But don’t hate me,” he replied.
By Bae Ji-sook (email@example.com