Dennis Rodman Has Meltdown on CNN, Defends Friendship with N. Korean Dictator Kim Jong-un
Posted on January 7, 2014CNN's Chris Cuomo interviewed Dennis Rodman and former NBA players who are in North Korea to play a basketball game for Kim Jong-un's birthday. The trip is not approved by the U.S. State Department, which is pretty unhappy with Rodman's forays into international diplomacy with a country which is notorious for human rights violations. Former New York Knicks forward Charles Smith was eloquent and kept his temper -- he says the game is all about "basketball diplomacy": they are there to put smiles on the faces of individuals. He says they are not there for politics. When CNN's Chris Cuomo challenges Smith, saying that the issue is more complicated than just playing basketball. Cuomo says the game is a birthday present to Kim Jung-un and Americans are concerned about giving a birthday present to a despot who just had his uncle executed and who has held U.S. citizen and missionary Kenneth Bae in prison for a year.
At about the 4:32 mark Cuomo asks Rodman if he will speak up for Bae who is ill and whose family is begging the North Korean government for his release. Rodman got pretty fired up at this part saying that Cuomo has no idea what Bae did, although he never elaborated (some reports say North Korea has accused Bae of trying to topple the government with his missionary work). Rodman got began yelling, "I don't give a rat's ass what you think!" and it degenerated from there. Rodman referred to Kim Jong-Il as his friend and defended his actions in executing his uncle by reminding Cuomo that the dictator is only 31 years old. Cuomo responded, "He could be 31, or he could be 51. He just killed his uncle, and he is holding an American hostage. The family is desperate for his return." Rodman really should let Smith do all the talking from now on.
The NBA apparently was horrified by Rodman's declaration of love and close friendship with the South Korean dictator and issued this statement by NBA Commissioner David Stern: "The NBA is not involved with Mr. Rodman's North Korea trip and would not participate or support such a venture without the approval of the U.S. State Department. Although sports in many instances can be helpful in bridging cultural divides, this is not one of them." Take a look: