Dennis Rodman meets North Korean leader again
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, 10:09 a.m.
BEIJING — Retired NBA star Dennis Rodman left North Korea Saturday, professing his affection for autocratic leader Kim Jong Un and angrily rejecting calls to lobby for the release of imprisoned American citizen Kenneth Bae.
Despite earlier calling on Kim to set Bae free, Rodman said the Christian missionary's fate was none of his business.
“Guess what? That's not my job to ask about Kenneth Bae,” Rodman told reporters upon arrival at the airport in China's capital, Beijing.
“Ask (President Barack) Obama about that. Ask Hillary Clinton,” a visibly agitated Rodman shouted, referencing the former secretary of state.
Chomping an unlit cigar, the typically flamboyant Rodman displayed a stack of photos showing him hugging Kim, laughing and conversing with him over a meal, and the two of them watching a basketball game together.
The NBA Hall of Famer and five-time championship winner said the two had formed a close bond over the course of his two visits to the isolated communist dictatorship.
“He's my friend for life. I don't care what you guys think about him,” Rodman said.
Wearing designer sunglasses and a stocking cap adorned with metallic spangles, Rodman quickly flashed with anger when asked about Bae, hurling obscene remarks back at reporters who quizzed him about the purpose of his trip. At one point, he had to be restrained by a member of his entourage before being bundled into a waiting car.
Rodman told The Associated Press as he was leaving his hotel in Pyongyang that Kim had spoken about his visiting again, and that Kim “really actually wants to change things.”
He said Kim had encouraged Rodman when he goes back to the United States to “say some very good, positive, and very good things about this country, that's what we talked about a lot.”
North Korea's official news agency, KCNA, said in a brief report that the two had “a cordial talk,” and that Kim invited Rodman back again “any time.”
The report said they watched a basketball game together, and Kim hosted a dinner for the sports star.
Rodman first met Kim — a basketball fan — during a visit in February to promote the sport and make a film. The two-time defensive player of the year has suggested “basketball diplomacy” could warm relations and has called Kim an “awesome guy.”
The KCNA report did not mention Bae, an ethnic Korean US citizen who has been held in North Korea since last year.
Rodman once asked on his Twitter account for Kim to “do me a solid” and release Bae.
Bae was arrested in November and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor for what Pyongyang described as hostile acts against the state. Kim has the power to grant special pardons under the North's constitution.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Allegheny County police arrest 29 on drug charges in Pitcairn area
- For Steelers defense, it’s all a matter of trust
- Jokinen takes center stage as fill-in for Pens’ Malkin
- That’s a Jeep Cherokee? No retro in 2014 model
- Corbett signals he won’t push to hike minimum wage
- Former personal assistant says Irish billionaire, former Heinz exec, owes her stocks, money
- Movies enhance language-learning program
- Fans of former conservative radio hosts Quinn, Tennent support toy drive
- Latrobe couple accused of using car trunk to end son’s fear of the dark
- Steelers notebook: Woodley expects to start Sunday vs. Dolphins
- From start, other muscle helped mold Mustang