Ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman finds new friend in North Korean leader
Pyongyang, North Korea
Retired NBA superstar Dennis Rodman has found a new friend in the equally controversial North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
"You have a friend for life," Rodman reportedly told the North Korean leader as they sat together to watch a basketball game between North Korea's top players and three Harlem Globetrotters who joined Rodman in his visit to the country.
"Although relations between the two countries are regrettable, personally I am a friend of Marshal Kim Jong Un and the DPRK people," Rodman added, according to a report by Xinhua news agency.
VICE media production sent Rodman and members of the Harlem Globetrotters to the Stalinist state as part of an upcoming HBO series that will explore "news, culture and current events from all around the world."
The Americans — along with VICE correspondent Ryan Duffy — were divided between the two sides. The game reportedly ended in a 110-110 tie.
The 51-year-old Rodman was a seven-time NBA rebounding champion in his 18-year playing career. He won five championships, two with the Detroit Pistons in 1989 and 1990 and three with the Chicago Bulls from 1996 to 1998.
However, Rodman's on-court achievements were eclipsed by his off-court controversies, including several suspensions and fines amounting to thousands of dollars.
Kim inherited the country's leadership after his father, Kim Jong-il, died in 2011. He was officially declared the supreme leader following the state funeral for his father on December 28, 2011.
Rodman's visit to North Korea came days after the country conducted a third nuclear test that drew worldwide condemnation.
At a time of rising tension between the United States and North Korea, former NBA basketball star Dennis Rodman is in the East Asian country, spreading what has been dubbed "basketball diplomacy." Jan Crawford explains
Can Dennis Rodman break the ice between U.S., North Korea?
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