Dennis Rodman landed in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday on the second visit of his “basketball diplomacy” tour. The high-profile trip comes a week after Kim Jong-un executed his uncle, Jang Song Thaek. Many foreign observers interpret such rash behavioral exhibitions as possible camouflage for more ominous ongoings.
“I can’t control what they do with their government,” Rodman explained to the Associated Press on Thursday. “I can’t control what they say or how they do things here.” Bemused onlookers wonder if the one-time NBA record-holder for technical fouls can control himself any better now than when he played.
The five-time NBA champion lists meeting up with his strongman chum, coaching the North Korean basketball team, and opening up the relationship between the U.S. and North Korea as reasons for his visit. The current trip follows Rodman’s headline-grabbing excursion to the Communist state in February, when he first met Kim Jong-un.
And not since Rodman unforgettably donned a wedding dress has there been a more bizarre union than the friendship between the Hall of Fame forward and the Communist dictator. In case anyone has difficulty differentiating the odd couple, Kim Jong-un is the five-foot-six Korean guy sporting the Shemp Howard-haircut and goth pajamas; Rodman is the six-foot-seven black guy with the multicolored hair, nose rings, and thoroughly tattooed exterior. Though the free-spirited character and the conformist country make a strange mix, Rodman insists he feels comfortable in North Korea.
“I’ve come over to see my friend, and people always give me a little hard time about me saying that,” the exhibitionist remarked upon his arrival in the Hermit Kingdom. “I’m very proud to say he’s my friend, because he hasn’t done anything to put a damper, to say any negative things about my country.”
In other words, Rodman expects Kim Jong-un to treat him like a friend and not like family.