*Dennis Rodman’s stint as America’s unofficial sports ambassador to North Korea is officially over.
Realizing the error of his ways, the Worm issued a tearful apology for his efforts during an interview with ESPN.
“I don’t want people to look at me as the devil or evil person,” the 52-year-old basketball Hall of Famer told ESPN. “If I put anyone in harm’s way, I apologize, you know. At least someone tried.
Rodman’s apology caps off a series of controversial moves that began when he visited North Korea to host basketball exhibitions in February 2013. The visit soon gave way to a friendship between Rodman and the country’s leader Kim Jong-un.
As if that wasn’t enough, Rodman continued to dig a hole for himself when sent a request via Twitter that Jong-un should release Kenneth Bae, an American Christian missionary and tour operator prisoner who had been sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea based North Koreans feeling his missionary work was a threat to their authoritarian government. The former NBA all-star came under fire from critics for not doing more to use his influence on Jong-un to push for Bae’s release.
Although Rodman’s announced last December that he would visit North Korea with a U.S. team of former NBA players to participate in an exhibition game in the country, the real story came prior to the game when raised eyebrows again he made a statement during a CNN interview implying that Bae’s imprisonment was actually his own fault.
Rodman ultimately fessed up to being drunk at the time of the interview as he apologized for the comment, which struck a nerve with the U.S. Congress, the NBA, and human rights groups.
With a history like that, it’s a safe bet that Rodman won’t be planning any more trips to North Korea.
“You know, I don’t want to be a hero. I just wanted to be, just do happy things and do great things in life,” the athlete stated as he vowed to not return to the country. “If you don’t want me to go back there ever again, I won’t go back.”
To see Rodman apologize during in his ESPN interview, click on the video below: