Dennis Rodman plays telephone with Kim Jong Un, President Obama

March 4, 2013

Deep inside, George Stephanopoulos had to be wondering who is Dennis Rodman’s tailor. (Lorenzo Bevilaqua / AP)

Dennis Rodman returned from his mission to North Korea and, in a debriefing with George Stephanopoulos, said that the country’s leader wants a call from President Barack Obama to talk about the one thing both agree on: basketball.

Wearing a U.S. currency-print jacket (where does one get one of those?) Rodman, the only American who has met and talked with Kim Jong Un, said on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos:” “I love the guy. He’s awesome. He’s so honest.”

Rodman spent two days in North Korea with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO project and briefly thought that pop star Psy was from North Korea. Stephanopoulos pointed out to Rodman that his new friend has threatened to destroy Rodman’s homeland and that North Korea has a poor human-rights record.

Rodman: “I hate the fact that he’s doing it but the fact is, you know what, as a human being though, he let his guard down. He did it one day to me. I didn’t talk about that. I understand that,” Rodman said. “What I saw in that country … I saw that people respect him and his family.”

Stephanopoulos: “But aren’t they forced to?”

Rodman: “Well, I say no, because I think he’s going to change something because his is a different view, because I sat with him for two days and … he wanted Obama to do one thing – call him.”

Stephanopoulos: “He wants a call from President Obama?

Rodman: “That’s right. He told me that. He said, ‘If you can, Dennis, I don’t want to do war. I don’t want to do war.’ He said that to me.”

That’s at odds with Kim’s National Defense Commission, which, after the U.N. Security Council voted to condemn the North’s successful rocket launch and expand penalties against Kim’s government, said in a statement that “settling accounts with the U.S. needs to be done with force, not with words.”

Rodman said he plans to return to North Korea and Stephanopoulos handed him the Human Rights Watch report on “dire human rights record” under Kim to take with him.

“Don’t hate me. Don’t hate me,” Rodman said. “Guess what? Don’t hate me.”

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · March 4, 2013