Former NBA star, Dennis Rodman, continues his happy knack of making the headlines after it was confirmed that he will be heading to North Korea before Christmas to train the country’s basketball team.
The eccentric 52-year-old former Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, and San Antonio Spurs star has struck up an unlikely friendship with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-Un.
Rodman has organised a friendship exhibition game between North Korea and a team of mainly ex-NBA players on 8th January, Kim’s birthday.
Rory Scott, a spokesman for an Irish sports betting firm, which is sponsoring Rodman’s trip, said: “We’re doing this because our customers love sport, which is the universal language. Let’s call it ‘hoops not nukes’.”
Scott, who is accompanying Rodman on the trip along with a television documentary crew, said the players in the US team will be announced shortly.
“It will be a mix of former NBA players, including a couple of legends, and some young guys,” he added. “Dennis is going to spend some time with the North Korean team this month before the game.”
Rodman made his first trip to North Korea in March, when he declared Kim Jong-Un, who is said to be a keen basketball fan, a “friend for life”.
Rodman played a key role alongside Michael Jordan as the Chicago Bulls won three NBA titles in 1990s.
Earlier in his career, he helped the Pistons defy the NBA betting odds to win the NBA title in 1989 and 1990 and, after ending his basketball career with unproductive spells at the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks, he was involved in wrestling and acting.
He had his own TV show, ‘The Rodman World Tour’, and wrestled Hulk Hogan at two ‘Bash at the Beach’ events. Rodman also had lead roles in the action films ‘Simon Sez’ and ‘Double Team’ alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme.