Dennis Rodman, the former NBA star and a good friend of Kim Jong-un, today said the reclusive young North Korean leader was “more like a big kid” who “loves to have a good time.” The ex-Chicago Bulls star broke down in tears during an interview to CNN as Donald Trump and Kim held a historic meeting in a hotel on Singapore’s Sentosa Island and praised the US President for thinking “out of the box”. Wearing a red “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, the 57-year-old former NBA Hall-of-Famer, who has travelled to Pyongyang several times, described the 34-year-old Kim a “good friend.” “He was taking selfies and all that,” said Rodman of his various meetings with Kim.
“This guy wants to be around the world, he wants to go to America.” After helping train North Korean basketball players and arranging to bring ex-NBA players to the country, according to Rodman, Kim approached him to say, “Dennis, you know, this is the first time someone ever kept their word to me in this country.”
The moment was emotional, Rodman said, adding that he then encouraged President Trump to show his “heart” to Kim. Rodman is perhaps the only person in the world who has personal relationships with both the US President — he participated on Trump’s pre-presidency reality TV show, “The Celebrity Apprentice” — and Kim. “It’s a great day. I am here to see it. I’m so happy,” Rodman, who arrived in Singapore overnight, said.
Rodman, who has previously boasted of his role in bringing the two leaders, who have traded threats and insults, together, described how he always believed in helping North Korea. “Once I got familiar with the culture and situation, I felt like I was at home,” he said of his previous trips to the reclusive country, as part of a basketball delegation. “I think the fact that Trump would understand that the people of North Korea have a heart, they have soul, charisma, and they love each other,” added Rodman.
Rodman said he didn’t want to think about the politics of the situation. “I don’t want to see that, I want to see it go away… I want to see us get along. Have a smile, have a glass of iced tea. I don’t want to worry about the war stuff, I don’t know anything about that,” he said. “I’m out of it. I’m so happy just to be here, man, and see the whole world get as emotional as I did. Donald Trump should take a lot of credit because he went out of the box.”
Rodman, who repeatedly praised 71-year-old Trump’s willingness to engage with North Korea, said he was previously threatened for defending North Korea. “When I got home (from North Korea in 2014), I got so many death threats. I was sitting up protecting everything,” said Rodman. “But I kept my head up high, brother. I knew things were gonna change. I was the only one.” Rodman claimed he tried talking to former US President Barack Obama.
“And Obama did not give me the time of day,” he said. Rodman, who expects the summit to be a success, said the outcome would be dependent on the ability of the two leaders to strike up a personal relationship.