In a Monday news conference, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman announced plans to help train the North Korean basketball team.
Rodman, whose five-day trip to North Korea was sponsored by Irish betting firm Paddy Power, also said he wants to put together a “basketball diplomacy” event featuring former NBA players in Pyongyang for Kim Jong-Eun’s birthday on Jan. 8 and Jan 10.
The announcement from the 52-year-old former NBA great came one day after he apparently revealed the name of Kim’s baby daughter, Ju Ae, in an interview with the Guardian. (Rodman also claimed the North Korean dictator was a “good dad,” and spoke of the “relaxing time by the sea” he had with the Kims.) North Korean watchers were already fairly certain that Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, had a child, although Rodman’s account appears to be the closest the world’s come to official confirmation.
In the bizarre news conference, Rodman said he wants President Barack Obama to meet with Kim, whom he has continually called his “friend.”
“I would love to make this a gimmick and make a sh*tload of money, but it’s not about the money,” Rodman said. “It’s about trying to open up Obama’s mind. You don’t have to talk about politics, talk about anything in the world. Meet him in Switzerland . . . just meet him or give him a call. That’s all he wants.”
Rodman made headlines this weekend when he made derogatory comments about Obama and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton when asked about currently imprisoned American missionary Kenneth Bae.
“That’s not my job to ask about Kenneth Bae,” Rodman told reporters who met him at the airport. “Ask Obama about that. Ask Hillary Clinton. Ask those a**holes.”
Rodman last visited North Korea in February, where he attended a basketball game with the North Korean leader.
“Sports is the number one thing in the world that keeps people together. I want to bridge a gap with North Korea,” he said Monday.