Dennis Rodman and North Korea: A Bizarre Love Story

Dennis Rodman is in North Korea, again.

Most Americans could not be paid to visit the authoritarian country, but the NBA Hall of Famer has been there five times, voluntarily. He’s also managed to add dictator Kim Jong Un to his friend circle, an addition most people would find dangerous.

It started in February 2013, when Rodman and a documentary crew from Vice visited North Korea as a kind of publicity stunt. While there, Rodman met Kim and they watched a Harlem Globetrotters game. Afterward, they reportedly retreated to Kim’s palace for a lavish party.

Later that year, in September, Rodman returned to North Korea for, in his words, “another basketball diplomacy tour.” He said of Kim, “I love him — the guy’s awesome.” He even told the Guardian that he had held Kim’s baby daughter, revealing to the outlet her name, Ju-ae.

The former Bulls player couldn’t stay away for long and went back to the country in December 2013. He visited at Kim’s request: The leader wanted Rodman to tutor some North Korean basketball players in the art of the sport.

And then, in January 2014, Rodman returned for an extra-special event: Kim Jong Un’s birthday. The festivities included Rodman singing “Happy Birthday” to Kim. Cute?

Rodman has visited North Korea many times
Dennis Rodman singing “Happy Birthday” to Kim Jong Un on Jan. 8, 2014. (Photo: AP Images)

Which brings us to this latest visit. Many people are speculating that Rodman is a quasi-surrogate for President Trump. In the past, Trump has praised Rodman’s unorthodox diplomacy. And Rodman, in 2015, endorsed Trump’s run for president.

Whether Rodman has a message for Kim from Trump is unclear (and may never be known), but he’s definitely there on behalf of PotCoin, a self-described “crypto currency” for marijuana sales.

Rodman, swagged out in PotCoin gear, tweeted that he would reveal his “mission” upon his return.

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