Before leading a squad of former NBA players in a friendly game of b-ball, Rodman sang happy birthday to the North Korean strongman. (Scroll down to watch.).
Rodman – who’s been roundly criticized for his “basketball diplomacy” back in the US – dedicated the game to his “best friend” Kim, who along with his wife and other senior officials and their wives watched from a special seating area. The capacity crowd of about 14,000 at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium clapped loudly as Rodman sang a verse from the birthday song.
Rodman said he was honored to be able to play the game in the North Korean capital, and called the event “historic.” To keep it friendly, the Americans played against the North Koreans in the first half, but split up and merged teams for the second half.
The North Korean team scored 47 points to 39 for the Americans before the teams were mixed. Rodman played only in the first half and then sat next to Kim during the second half.
“A lot of people have expressed different views about me and your leader, your marshal, and I take that as a compliment,” Rodman told the crowd. “Yes, he is a great leader, he provides for his people here in this country and thank God the people here love the marshal.”
Whatever Dennis. Whatever.
Meanwhile, Rodman is also catching heat from the sister of Kenneth Bae, an American held captive in North Korea for more than a year. Terru Chung says she is outraged that Rodman has cozied up to North Korea’s young dictator and is “playing games with my brother’s life.”
As we reported earlier, in a bizarre, expletive-littered and sometimes incoherent interview with CNN, Rodman came close to suggesting that Bae himself was responsible for his captivity.
“My family and I are outraged,” Chung said in a statement. “He is playing games with my brother’s life. There is no diplomacy, only games, and at my brother’s expense.”
Get the rest of this story at NBC News.
Check out Rodman singing “Happy Birthday” to Kim Jong Un: