Former NBA star Dennis Rodman shakes hands with North Korea's Sports Ministry Vice Minister Son Kwang Ho upon his arrival at the international airport in Pyongyang on Monday, January 6.
Rodman defiant in odd N. Korea defense
08:11 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Dennis Rodman becomes angry while being interviewed by CNN's Chris Cuomo

Rodman bristles when asked if it's appropriate for him to lead a visit to North Korea

The former NBA star tells Cuomo, "I don't give a rat's ass what the hell you think"

Rodman implies that an American imprisoned in North Korea did something wrong

CNN  — 

Basketball star Dennis Rodman seemed to get pretty upset Tuesday when asked whether he should be visiting North Korea with a group of former NBA players as part of his “basketball diplomacy” efforts.

In the exclusive interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on “New Day,” Rodman supported his controversial trip and called the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un, a “friend” who he loves. In case you missed it, here are the top five most amazing moments from his interview with Cuomo:

When Rodman explained why he’s visiting North Korea: “It’s not a good idea – the one thing that we’re doing – it’s a great idea for the world, for the world. And people always come down on the things I do, and it’s weird.”

When Rodman compared his trip to the Olympics: “No one ever, ever asked anyone in the world why we have Olympics. And we have struggles around the world, in all the countries around the world. But when the Olympics come around there’s no problems – it’s all about the game. People love to do one thing: sports.”

When Rodman semed to imply that Kenneth Bae, an American citizen who has been sentenced to 15 years hard labor in North Korea, had done something wrong: “Kenneth Bae did one thing. If you understand what Kenneth Bae did – do you understand what he did in this country?” (Cuomo asks Rodman to specify exactly what Bae did.) “You tell me, why is he held captive?” (The North Korean regime says Bae was found guilty of “hostile acts” and attempts to topple the government. His mother told CNN in October that Bae has a profound love for the country and its people, and any offense he caused was not intentional.)

When Rodman said he was ready to take abuse from Americans: “You’re the guy behind the mic right now. We’re the guys here doing one thing. We have to go back to America and take the abuse. Do you have to take the abuse that we’re goning to take? Do you, sir? Are you going to take the abuse? We’re going to get it.”

When Rodman cut Cuomo off to tell him he doesn’t ‘give a rat’s ass’ what he thinks: “You know, you’ve got 10 guys here, 10 guys here, they’ve left their families, they’ve left their damn families, to help this country, in a sports venture. That’s 10 guys, all these guys here, do anyone understand that?” (Cuomo tells Rodman he understands and thanks the group for the cultural exchange but Rodman cuts him off.) “I don’t give a rat’s ass what the hell you think. I’m saying to you, look at these guys here, look at them. … They dared to do one thing, they came here.”

Rodman’s visit comes just weeks after North Korea announced it had executed Kim’s once-powerful uncle. Rodman and the former NBA players who have joined him are playing a friendly match against North Korea’s basketball team on Wednesday, when Kim is believed to turn 31.

Rodman struck up the unlikely relationship with Kim when he traveled to North Korea for the first time in February. He has called Kim a “very good guy” and “a friend for life” despite international condemnation of the country’s human rights record.