Former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman wants to go back to North Korea on a diplomatic mission per President Donald Trump.
“I’ve been trying to tell Donald since day one: ‘Come talk to me, man … I’ll tell you what the Marshal [Kim Jong Un] wants more than anything … It’s not even that much,'” Rodman recently told The Guardian during an interview in Beijing, China, while trying to fly to Pyongyang for what would have been his sixth trip to North Korea.
The U.S. State Department has banned passport holders from traveling to North Korea after the death of American student Otto Warmbier, who was detained in North Korea for a year and was sent home with brain damage.
Rodman touts North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un as a friend; he first visited North Korea in 2013. During that trip, Rodman notoriously sang “Happy Birthday” to the dictator and referred to him as his “best friend.” Rodman most recently traveled to North Korea as a private citizen this past June.
He told The Guardian that he would be the person who could press for peace between North Korea and the United States. North Korea launched yet another intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) at the end of November, and it flew higher than any other missile to date.
“If I can go back over there … you’ll see me talking to him [Kim Jong Un], and sitting down and having dinner, a glass of wine, laughing and doing my thing. I guess things will settle down a bit and everybody can rest at ease,” Rodman said during the interview, adding: “I think a lot of people around the world … want me to go just to see if I can do something.”
Rodman, 56, in the past embarked on what he referred to as “basketball diplomacy,” playing pick-up games in North Korea with other NBA stars.
Kim Jong Un is reportedly an NBA fan, specifically of the Chicago Bulls. Rodman famously played for the Bulls in the late 1990s.
Aside from his basketball fame, Rodman was also a contestant on the reality TV show Celebrity Apprentice, which President Trump made infamous; Trump was not President at the time his show was running on television.
Rodman was a contestant on season eight of The Apprentice, which aired in 2009.