Dennis Rodman Visits North Korea: Kim Jong Un Fan of Chicago Bulls and Basketball, Can 'Basketball Diplomacy' Ease Tensions?

By Scott Taylor | Feb 27, 2013 06:16 PM EST
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As tensions rise with North Korea, Americans needn't be worried. Former NBA player and reality star Dennis Rodman is going to save the day. That's right, former tattooed bad boy of the NBA, Dennis Rodman is in North Korea to convince North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that peace is the answer.

Rodman landed in North Korea on Tuesday with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team and a documentary crew for a news show on North Korea that will air on HBO. Rodman will also be participating in basketball exhibitions and the film company hopes he will get to meet with Kim Jong Un.

Is the former Chicago Bulls basketball player, nicknamed "The Worm," the guy Americans want talking with North Korea's leader? My guess is probably not. However, there is one thing on Rodman's side. Kim Jong Un is a noted basketball fan and follower of the 90's Chicago Bulls. When Rodman was a member of the Bulls they managed to win three championships.

Rodman's visit to North Korea comes at a time when North Korea, known for its brutal dictatorship, and the United States have seen their relationship reach new levels of tension. However, VICE media founder Shane Smith hopes both countries love of basketball can bring them together. The documentary will be called "Vice" and air on HBO starting April 5.

"It's weird because when you go there, it's all very anti-American," Smith said. "North Korean kids are fed anti-American propaganda from pretty much the day they are born. But it's O.K. to like American basketball."

The group of players plans on spending four or five days in North Korea visiting children's sports camps and playing North Korean players.

Rodman took to Twitter to downplay his peace making abilities, "I'm not a politician. Kim Jung Un & North Korean people are basketball fans. I love everyone. Period. End of story."

It will be interesting to see how the trip goes. North Korea has a strict dress policy, with men not even being allowed to have facial hair. So how will Dennis Rodman do with the tattoos, piercings, and very non-conservative dress? We will see.

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