Skip to main content

Dennis Rodman will go back to North Korea; other ex-NBA players to follow

By Holly Yan and Steve Forrest, CNN
December 4, 2013 -- Updated 0748 GMT (1548 HKT)
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman watches a basketball game with Kim Jong Un and his wife, Ri Sol Ju in Pyongyang, North Korea in February.
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman watches a basketball game with Kim Jong Un and his wife, Ri Sol Ju in Pyongyang, North Korea in February.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The former pro basketball star will help train a North Korean team later this month
  • That team will play an exhibition game against ex-NBA players, a sponsor says
  • It's unclear whether Rodman will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un
  • Rodman has said he is Kim's "friend for life"

(CNN) -- Seems like Dennis Rodman can't get enough of North Korea.

The retired basketball star is headed to the reclusive country for the third time on December 18. He'll spend several days helping train the North Korean basketball team, which will play at least one exhibition game against former NBA players in January, according to Paddy Power, the UK-based online betting company sponsoring Rodman's trip.

The heavily pierced and tattooed icon will be traveling with a documentary crew, Paddy Power spokesman Rory Scott said.

Rodman's hoop dreams for North Korea
Rodman on defense over North Korea visit
Dennis Rodman to see 'my friend Kim'

But it's not clear whether Rodman, 52, will meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom Rodman calls "a very good guy" -- despite international condemnation of the country's human rights record.

"You have a friend for life," Rodman told Kim after the two men sat next to each other watching an unusual basketball exhibition in Pyongyang in February.

Rodman makes another trip to North Korea

Even though Rodman has made very clear he is not an official diplomat between the United States and North Korea, he said he believes in "basketball diplomacy."

"I'm not a politician," he tweeted. "Kim Jung Un & North Korean people are basketball fans. I love everyone. Period. End of story."

Scott said the names of the former NBA players Rodman has drafted to play in January will be released sometime next week.

Opinion: Rodman just a toy for N. Korea's Kim

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
North Korea warns the United States that U.S. "citadels" will be attacked, dwarfing the hacking attack on Sony that led to the cancellation of a comedy film's release.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0307 GMT (1107 HKT)
President Barack Obama says he doesn't consider North Korea's hack of Sony Pictures "an act of war."
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 2243 GMT (0643 HKT)
The U.S. has asked China for help battling North Korean hacking of American information systems, a senior administration official tells CNN.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2335 GMT (0735 HKT)
Alex Gladstein, director of institutional affairs at Human Rights Foundation, says he'd like "to disrupt North Korea and help end the Kim regime's monopoly of knowledge."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 1543 GMT (2343 HKT)
North Korea's fury over the movie comedy "The Interview" appears to have taken the secretive state's oversensitivity to new extremes.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2336 GMT (0736 HKT)
CNN's Brian Todd looks into the possibility of whether North Korea received help from freelancers or other countries.
December 9, 2014 -- Updated 0157 GMT (0957 HKT)
A retired Silicon Valley executive and Korean War veteran was hauled off his plane at Pyongyang in 2013. Here's what happened next.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 1057 GMT (1857 HKT)
A recent defector from North Korea tells of the harrowing escape into China via Chinese 'snakehead' gangs.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0039 GMT (0839 HKT)
CNN's Amara Walker speaks to a former North Korean prison guard about the abuses he witnessed and was forced to enact on prisoners.
November 18, 2014 -- Updated 0559 GMT (1359 HKT)
The chief of the Commission of Inquiry into North Korea's human rights says the world can no longer plead ignorance to the regime's offenses.
November 19, 2014 -- Updated 0034 GMT (0834 HKT)
Kim Jong Il's former bodyguard tells of the beatings and starvation he endured while imprisoned in the country's most notorious prison camp.
October 11, 2014 -- Updated 0543 GMT (1343 HKT)
Despite tense relations, China benefits from Kim Jong Un's rule in North Korea. David McKenzie explains.
September 15, 2014 -- Updated 0851 GMT (1651 HKT)
North Korea has "the world's most advantageous human rights system" and citizens have "priceless political integrity", the country declared.
ADVERTISEMENT