While most North Koreans look for ways out of the country, Dennis Rodman apparently enjoys his trips to the land ruled under the dictatorship of Kim Jong-Un.
Perhaps Rodman’s attraction to North Korea comes from knowing a thing or two about dictatorship on the basketball court, having ruled the boards by averaging 13.1 rebounds per game in an illustrious career that lasted from 1986 to 2000. The 52-year-old former NBA All-Star will bring his expertise to the North Korean basketball team compliments of Paddy Power.
Armed with five NBA titles thanks to his tenure with the Detroit Pistons in the late 1980s and teaming up with Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and a dominant Chicago Bulls line-up in the 1990s, Rodman will spend a few days training the North Koreans beginning December 18. The Irish bookmaker will sponsor Rodman’s trip and film a documentary as well, Paddy Power spokesman Rory Scott told CNN.
The North Korean squad is scheduled to play exhibition games against ex-NBA stars in January. Rodman announced several months ago that one of the exhibition games will be played on January 8, 2014, which is Jong-Un’s birthday. Another game is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 10. Details will be forthcoming regarding the roster of the former NBA players.
This will be the heavily-tattooed and free-spirited Rodman’s third sojourn to the country, with the first two visits finding the colorful character spending a considerable amount of time engaging with Jong-Un. An unlikely pairing to say the least, but friendships often transcend the miles and cultures that sometimes come between them.
“You have a friend for life,” Rodman told Jong-Un after the pair took in a February basketball exhibition game in Pyongyang.
Rodman has not declared himself a diplomat aiming to iron out political differences between the U.S. and North Korea. Instead, he apparently merely enjoys being around those who love the game of basketball, which includes Jong-Un and North Koreans.