Dennis Rodman North Korea Basketball Diplomacy Reaches New Low

Dennis Rodman Basketball Diplomacy

Terry Foster of 97.1 FM’s Valenti & Foster Show may have leaked some information regarding why Dennis Rodman has been making frequent visits to North Korea.

Foster is currently a radio co-host, but served a Pistons beat writer during the Bad Boys era were he undoubtedly became acquaintances with Rodman.

During the afternoon broadcast, Foster admitted that he ran into Rodman at an airport last year, and at that chance meeting Rodman told him he was “about to get paid.” When Foster inquired further, Rodman told him it had to do with “Asia.”

The former Detroit Piston and Chicago Bull arrived Monday in North Korea to play a basketball game for dictator Kim Jong Un, after which the proceeds will go to a mysterious “charity for the deaf” in Pyongyang.

In every piece of gossip, it’s up to the listener to decide what he or she thinks, but it stands to reason that Rodman must be getting compensated for frequently visiting one of the least savory countries on Earth. Perhaps Un’s interest in basketball has spurred him to open the coffers and deprive his own people of even more food, infrastructure, power, etc. Frivolity, waste, and complete detachment from the populous are all behaviors indicative of North Korea’s ruling family.

Rodman’s true intentions are unclear. While he maintains his position that the world should view North Korea in a different light, the reality of the impoverished country’s situation lends no reason to believe anyone should see it for what it really is, a third-world playground for a line of cruel and idiotic dictators. In a country where citizens are sent to work camps for “not being upset enough” over the death of their ruler, a basketball game featuring NBA has-beens seems like a stretch for an olive branch.

The cherry on top of the melting sundae — Rodman’s inability to hold a conversation with CNN’s Chris Cuomo. In an interview for Cuomo’s “New Day” program, Rodman rambled on and on about “ten guys here, ten guys here” who left their families to play basketball in North Korea, as if the lackluster event were a major step in improving relations between the United States and Kim Jong Un. Rodman was incapable of answering Cuomo’s questions about American citizen Kenneth Bae, who was imprisoned in 2012 after being found with a hard drive containing photos of starving North Korean children. The seven-time NBA rebounding champion spiraled into an emotional rant which ended in Rodman seeming more out-of-touch with reality than ever, if that’s at all possible.

At the end of the interview, Rodman delivered the following with a disturbing, borderline-deranged sentiment: “One day. One day … … this door’s gonna open.” Rodman may be right, but the question of whether or not he had anything to do with opening the door will forever be debated.

Here are a few things that are for certain:

  • If what Foster said about Rodman “getting paid” in North Korea is true, then the thin facade of diplomacy seems even thinner.
  • Kim Jong Un doesn’t seem friendlier, or less delusional by allowing Rodman and co. to play basketball in his country.
  • Rodman’s time in the limelight has increased after first appearing in North Korea with his “friend for life” Kim Jong Un.
  • Little to no goodwill has been generated between the United States and North Korea as a result of Rodman’s efforts.

The Dennis Rodman North Korea Basketball Diplomacy Program isn’t working, but the good news is that it isn’t being funded by the American taxpayer.

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Tomas Laverty
Tomas Laverty, frequent contributor to the MLB section, runs a Detroit web design company called Detroit Spaces.