Back in September, we trudged down to lower Manhattan and witnessed a Dennis Rodman press conference in all its erratic glory. It came on the heels of another Rodman visit to North Korea where he’s struck up a friendship with dictator Kim Jong-un. He’s in North Korea again right now with 10 former players to play an exhibition game for Jong-un’s birthday, and when speaking with CNN’s Chris Cuomo by video on Tuesday, he had a meltdown.
Rodman had mentioned when we saw him speak in September about going back over to North Korea with former players — and even singled out former teammates, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, as people he’d like to escort, though he was clear they probably wouldn’t be joining him. But he did find a coterie of retired players to join him in cloistered North Korea, including former Knicks player Charles Smith. Rodman and his merry band of basketball players, spoke with Chris Cuomo today, and the fireworks begins around the five-minute mark.
Apparently referring to Kim, Rodman said, “I love my friend. This is my friend.” He spoke from the country’s capital, Pyongyang.
Asked if he would take the opportunity to ask North Korean leaders about Bae, Rodman suggested the Korean-American had done something wrong but did not say what that was.
Growing angry with Cuomo and jabbing his finger toward the camera for emphasis, Rodman said, “Kenneth Bae did one thing. … If you understand what Kenneth Bae did. Do you understand what he did in this country? No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why? … I would love to speak on this.
“You know, you’ve got 10 guys here, 10 guys here, they’ve left their families, they’ve left their damn families, to help this country, as in a sports venture. That’s 10 guys, all these guys here, do anyone understand that? Christmas, New Year’s. …
“I don’t give a rat’s ass what the hell you think. I’m saying to you, look at these guys here, look at them … they dared to do one thing, they came here.”
You can see Charles Smith trying to calm Rodman down as Cuomo presses him on Bae, but the whole interview is just a spectacle.
On a personal note, I miss watching Dennis Rodman rebound and play defense, this other thing I’d rather ignore. It’s a travesty, and the White House, the NBA and retired NBA players not along on the trip have disassociated themselves from Rodman’s exhibition.
Stern on Rodman/North Korea game: "Although sports in many instances can be helpful in bridging cultural divides, this is not one of them.”
— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) January 7, 2014
What do you think?
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