Dennis Rodman: I didn't know I'd talk to Kim Jong-un when I went to North Korea
LOS ANGELES â" Basketballer Dennis Rodman had no idea, on his first trip to North Korea, that heâd be talking international diplomacy with Kim Jong-un.
He thought it was just another autograph-signing paycheck.
âAnd this is the funny part. I said yes because â" this is funny â" because I thought it was another paying gig,â Rodman confessed Saturday at the Politicon conference in Los Angeles.
Rodman remains the one individual in the center of a Venn diagram between President Trump â" who he appeared with on âCelebrity Apprenticeâ â" and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who he befriended in his handful of trips.
He continues to take credit for the two leaders meeting in Singapore in June.
âIâm not really deep into politics, but I love to create politics. Like the North Korea thing. I created that,â Rodman said Saturday.
Though during a Q&A on Saturday, Rodman suggested he created the Trump-Un bromance by accident.
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Rodman said that he didnât know anything about the Hermit Kingdom when he agreed to a trip in March 2013. Rodman said the North Koreans had called the front office of the Chicago Bulls and asked that Michael Jordan visit.
âAnd Michael said, âHell no,ââ Rodman recalled.
Rodmanâs name was then floated as a secondary option. Rodman said he signed on because he thought it was a publicity trip where he would be taking pictures, signing autographs and kissing babies.
Rodman said he also wasnât familiar with Kim. âI ha d never seen a picture of him at all,â he said. When Kim arrived at a basketball-themed event, Rodman was miffed at the peopleâs reaction to the arrival of their leader.
âNext thing you know, 20,000 people stood up and clapped. And Iâm thinking itâs for me,â Rodman said.
âI look over to my left. Itâs a short guy,â Rodman recalled, saying one of the North Koreans explained to him that Kim was the âsupreme leader.â
Rodman was still left scratching his head. âWho is this guy? Is he the president or something? [Eventually] it started hitting me who this guy is,â Rodman said.
Rodman described Kim as âfunny as hell,â though he said he didnât speak English.
âHe loves basketball. We played a game â¦ weâd water ski, jet ski, snowboard. Weâd do everything.â
Would the âsupreme leaderâ wear his âsuit,â asked the forumâs moderator Toure.
âNot in the suit,â Rodman replied. âNo, he has shorts, t-shirts, stuff like that.â
The basketball star also divulged Kimâs other favorite hobbies.
âHe watched a lot of movies. He played Donkey Kong, Pac-Man. He plays a lot of cool things. Old games though,â Rodman said.
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Throughout the interview, Rodman kept himself at an armâs length from both Kim â" and Trumpâs â" policies.
âMy whole purpose â¦ Iâm not there for politics,â he said of his North Korea trips. âDo you get that? Iâm there for sports. Trying to connect two countries together in sports.â
âIâm not over there trying to ask the guys donât chop his head off, donât shoot your brother or sister,â Rodman added.
Repeating the bouts of emotion he showed during his Singapore sit-down with CNNâs Chris Cuomo, Rodman briefly choked up when talking about Otto Warmbier, the American who died at North Koreaâs hands.
âThey blamed me because he died,â Rodman said.
As for Trump, Rodman defended him, though wouldnât sign on to his agenda.
âEveryone thinks Donald Trump is racist; I donât think so,â Rodman said. âI support Donald Trump as a friend, and what he does as president, I canât control that.âSource: Google News North Korea | Netizen 24 North Korea