Dennis Rodman sang “Happy Birthday” to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, in his latest move for “diplomacy.”
The former Chicago Bulls star serenaded the dictator before participating in a game of â€œbasketball diplomacy.â€ Rodman then lead a team of former NBA players against the North Korean team before 14,000 attendees in the capital Pyongyang stadium. After the second half, heÂ joined Kim in a special seating area with Kim’s wife and senior officials to finish watching the game.
Rodman has been vocal about his intentions to bring together the West and his “good friend.” Kim Jong Un’s regime has starved millions of North Korea’s people, jailed thousands, and openly threatened countries with use of nuclear weapons. Just recently, it was revealed that Kim Jong Un had his uncle murdered and virtually stricken from the history books.
The family of imprisoned American Kenneth Bae are outraged at Rodmanâ€™s comments.Â BaeÂ has been held in a North Korean jail for over a year. He worked as a tour operator before his arrest.
“There is no diplomacy, only games, and at my brother’s expense,” said Bae’s sister, Terri Chung, in response to Rodman’s assertions that Bae may have deserved to be jailed.
Laura Ling, an American journalist who was held prisoner by North Korea in 2009, suggests that Rodman’s use of basketball could show North Korean’s “a positive side” of American culture. Yet, she’s not optimistic that Rodman will be the sole link to bring together the West and North Korea.
“…I don’t think that anyone expects him to be this ambassador or to produce this diplomatic breakthrough. At least we shouldn’t — that would be pretty scary if Dennis Rodman was our envoy,” Ling said on “Anderson Cooper 360.”
The NBA has distanced itself from Rodman’s plans of “basketball diplomacy,” instead counting it as Rodman’s usual displays of off-color behavior.