- (Photo: Reuters/KCNA)
Dennis Rodman is once again making headlines for his most recent trip to North Korea during which the former NBA player is coaching a men's basketball team for an upcoming exhibition match.
Rodman acknowledged that he may not get to see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during the visit, but he is sure to exchange with him when he returns to North Korea next month for the exhibition basketball game in honor of Un.
The Hall of Famer said that he didn't expect to meet the leader every time he comes to North Korea, and that his current trip was for training North Korean basketball players who will take part in the match Rodman is organizing for Kim's birthday on Jan. 8.
"I'm not just coming over here to meet the leader," Rodman told AP. "I came over here to meet the basketball team, to prepare a great game for the leader for his birthday. And people need to understand that it's not important for me to meet him every time I come over because he has another greater job to do for his country, and I respect that, but this trip was basically to come over to train the team, so we can have a great, great, game."
The former NBA star has attracted a great deal of controversy for his friendship with Kim, whom he has visited in North Korea before on several occasions.
Rodman's trips to North Korea have been overshadowed with the fact that Kenneth Bae, the imprisoned U.S. citizen who was sentenced earlier this year to 15 years of hard labor, supposedly for plots he had made against the government, is still suffering
When asked previously about the situation, Rodman said that he was not "going to talk about that" with Kim.
"I'm not there to be a diplomat. I'm there to go there and just have a good time, sit with (Kim) and his family, and that's pretty much it," Rodman explained.