December 01, 2023

How Eccentric Dennis Rodman Was Welcomed Home in Pyongyang

Basketball diplomacy follows an abandoned 2009 Eric Clapton visit, showing the important role of Kim family personal interests

Today Dennis Rodman made world news by meeting with the North Korean leader to watch a basketball game together, marking the first time an American visiting the DPRK had personally met with Kim Jong Un. After their meeting Rodman said, “Although relations between the two countries are regrettable, personally I am a friend of Marshal Kim Jong Un and the DPRK people.”

The visit to North Korea of basketball star Dennis Rodman may seem odd to outsiders, but the cross dressing, pierced and tattooed Hollywood celebrity has a very high-level fan club in Pyongyang. And it was no coincidence that Vice Media founder Shane Smith, whose organization helped plan the trip, said that Kim Jong Un's love of basketball was why the trip was approved.