During the course of his career with the Chicago Bulls, Dennis Rodman became known as one of the most controversial players in the game due to his bodily piercings and rebellious attitude. Fans of the NBA would often bet on Rodman’s theatrics, and what would be the next controversial move the disgruntled star made. However, no one would have gambled on Rodman’s latest controversy.
The former NBA star travelled to North Korea with the VICE media company and members of the Harlem Globetrotters at the request of North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un. The North Korean leader, unlike his late father, is an avid sports enthusiast with a particular love for basketball. According to VICE spokespeople, Kim is a personal fan of Dennis Rodman and enjoys watching the impressive skills of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Rodman sat next to Kim for the duration of a North Korean basketball game that included two members of the Harlem Globetrotters on each team. VICE Founder Shane Smith says Rodman and Kim formed a close bond as both men share a passion for the game of basketball.
“They were both enjoying the crazy shots, and the Harlem Globetrotters were putting on quite a show.”
Following the conclusion of the game, Rodman stood before a stadium filled with tens of thousands of North Korean basketball fans, and addressed Kim by stating “you have a friend for life.” Rodman’s remarks immediately went viral, and online casinos immediately began placing odds on what the fallout from the NBA star’s remarks will be for the US, North Korea, and the world at large.
Rodman’s controversial visit – and even more controversial remarks – comes as tension between the US and North Korea has reached a boiling point that is strikingly similar to hostility during the 1953 Korean War. The two nations have never declared an official truce with each other in the 60 years since, and North Korea’s latest rocket tests have placed the entire world on edge.
Kim later hosted a generous dinner for Rodman, the Globetrotters, and VICE at his palace following the game. The North Korean dictator told VICE’s Smith that he hopes the bonding with Rodman will help defuse the brewing crisis between North Korea and the US, while the US federal government only responded by saying Rodman’s visit was done as a private citizen.