The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Dennis Rodman says he deserves some credit if North Korea summit happens

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman leaves Beijing airport after arriving from North Korea’s capital in Pyongyang in June 2017. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)
Placeholder while article actions load

Dennis Rodman won’t take all the credit for the possible upcoming summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but he will take some credit.

The retired NBA bad boy told TMZ his birthday gift to Kim in 2017, a copy of Trump’s book “Art of the Deal,” may have helped Kim “understand” Trump and somehow warm up to a denuclearization meeting.

Here’s his full quote to TMZ:

“I think that his impression about Donald Trump and the American people, I think he’s had a change of heart. I think when I went over the last time for his birthday, I gave him one of Donald Trump’s books. I do a lot of things with Donald Trump, and stuff like that, and I think people know that. I think you have the video of me giving him books and telling him about Donald Trump and about Americans, I think he didn’t realize who Donald Trump was at that time, I guess, until he started to read the book and started to get to understand him, stuff like that.
“I don’t want to take all the credit. I don’t want to sit there and say, ‘I did this, I did that.’ That’s not my intention. My intention was to go over and be a sports ambassador to North Korea so people understand how the people are in North Korea. I think that has resonated to this whole point now. And Donald Trump, I don’t ask Donald Trump for anything. I like Donald Trump. He’s a good friend and I’ve always asked him to talk to me because the people of North Korea and the government over there asked me to talk to Donald Trump about what they want and how we could solve things.
“I first asked Donald Trump years ago before he became president. I told him I was going to North Korea and he said, ‘Dennis, go over there. It’s a great thing, Dennis. It’s a great thing that you’re doing over there.’ And when I went over there, things looked great. He was happy and stuff like that. And then things changed, and now, since things have changed again, people are asking me, why aren’t you getting any credit because you’re the one who brought awareness to the hostages and everyone that’s over there, and all of a sudden, he started letting people go. And I’m like, I’m not the president. I’m just one person. I’m just one person and I’m so happy that things are going well.”

It’s worth noting, even national security experts are confused by the North Korean charm offensive, which began just before the Winter Olympics.

The North asked to march with the South and a unified Korean flag. The two nations combined their women’s hockey teams. Kim Yo Jong, the premier’s sister, attended the Games, making her the first member of the ruling Kim family to ever cross into South Korea.

Some security experts have said the campaign was aimed to drive a wedge between the United States and South Korea, as the North rushes to develop more sophisticated nuclear weapons.

Read more from The Post:

North Korea sent cheerleaders to the Olympics. Here’s what they’re saying.

John Wall wants the Wizards to overhaul their roster. They likely won’t be able to.

The banged-up Celtics aren’t as talented as the Sixers. They didn’t need to be in Game 1.

Redskins high on their draft haul: ‘The football gods were looking after us’