Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is to helm a new Vice series about North Korea, due to be aired on HBO in early April. Rodman arrived in Pyongyang this week as tensions between America and the DPRK are at an all time high.
Rodman, three members of the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team, a VICE correspondent and a production crew from the company are visiting North Korea to shoot footage for a new TV show set to air on HBO in early April, VICE told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview before the group’s departure from Beijing.
VICE said the Americans hope to engage in a little “basketball diplomacy” in North Korea by running a basketball camp for children and playing pickup games with locals — and by competing alongside North Korea’s top athletes for a game Rodman said he hopes leader Kim Jong Un will attend.
“Is sending the Harlem Globetrotters and Dennis Rodman to the DPRK strange? In a word, yes,” said Shane Smith, the VICE founder who is host of the upcoming series. “But finding common ground on the basketball court is a beautiful thing.
“These channels of cultural communication might appear untraditional, and perhaps they are, but we think it’s important just to keep the lines open,” he said. “And if Washington isn’t going to send their Generals then we’ll send our Globetrotters.”
Shown a photo of a snarling Rodman, piercings dangling from his lower lip and two massive tattoos emblazoned on his chest, one North Korean in Pyongyang recoiled and said: “He looks like a monster!”
Shane Smith and Vice have experience in North Korea, having produced a series about the DPRK in 2009, the entirety of which is available online. More recently Vice travelled to Siberia, to investigate North Korean labour camps there that are accused of using slave labour.