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Dennis Rodman back from North Korea. Time to take him seriously? (+video)

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(Read caption) Dennis Rodman on North Korea: 'This country is not bad'
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Dennis Rodman looks like no one’s idea of a diplomat. He’s got more piercings than a dartboard and dresses with flamboyance, as if he believes Mardi Gras is every day.

At press conferences he speaks his own language. Sometimes it makes sense. Sometimes it is composed of equal parts expletives and random nouns.

But maybe it is time to take seriously Mr. Rodman’s basketball outreach to North Korea. That is what Daniel Pinkston of the very respectable International Crisis Group believes, in any case.

Mr. Pinkston appeared with Rodman Monday in New York to argue that given the lack of any sort of civil contact between the US and North Korea, Rodman’s trips to Asia’s hermit kingdom make sense.

“This is about opening people’s minds and delivering new thinking to North Korea,” he said.

Let’s back up a bit and go over Rodman’s recent travels, shall we? It’s easier to see where the circus train is going once you know where it’s already been.

The six-time NBA champion and member of the Basketball Hall of Fame is just back from a five-day trip to North Korea, his second. It was sponsored by an Irish betting company. During the visit, Rodman again saw his friend, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Apparently he was the first foreigner to hold Kim’s new daughter. During an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Rodman inadvertently leaked the daughter’s name to the world press.

It’s Ju Ae.

“The Marshal Kim and I had a good time by the sea,” Rodman told The Guardian.

Arriving back in the US, Rodman and his Irish online wagering firm sponsor, Paddy Power, called a press conference on Monday to announce further plans. For one thing, Rodman intends to go back to North Korea with a team of former NBA players to play two exhibition games in January. He hopes to get former teammates and friends, such as ex-Chicago Bull Scottie Pippen, to join him.


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