Former NBA star Dennis Rodman said, “People don’t see … the good side about that country,” when discussing his recent trip to North Korea with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday.
“People don’t see … the good side about that country. It’s like going, like, to Asia. It’s like going to like Istanbul, Turkey, or any place like that. It’s pretty much just like that. You’re know, you going to see some poverty. You’re going to see some people that’s not doing too well,” Rodman told host Michael Strahan.
Rodman said the country has changed over the course of his visits, saying “we’ve seen a lot of changes,” including “the fact that it is so modernized now.”
He added, “They’re so happy now, because it’s more like … it’s civilized again.”
Rodman said he didn’t meet with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, during his most recent visit, but considered him a friend and has spent time with him in the past.
“I think people don’t see him as … a friendly guy,” Rodman. “We sing karaoke… It’s all fun. Ride horses, everything.”
Meanwhile, Rodman and his agent feel they are partially responsible for the North Korea’s release of American college student Otto Warmbier, who died last Monday, just days after being medically evacuated from a North Korean prison on the day the former NBA star arrived.
“I was just so happy to see the kid released,” he said. “Later that day, that’s when we found out he was ill, no one knew that. We jumped up and down … Some good things came of this trip.”
Strahan pushed back, saying Warmer was in perfect health before heading to North Korea but Rodman pivoted, repeating that he didn’t know he was “sick” multiple times.
Warmbier was sent back to the U.S. in a state of unresponsive wakefulness, according to doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Rodman said he wished to “give all the prayer and love” to the Warmer’s family.
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