For almost a year now we’ve tuned in to the exploits and bumbling diplomacy of Dennis Rodman after his first visit to the DPRK in February 2013, and it’s looking like the bizarre whirlwind of a media spectacle is about ready to crash. Fresh on his return from North Korea, where Rodman and his ragtag team of ex-NBA stars assembled to play an exhibition match for Kim Jong-un’s birthday, the unlikely cohort of the leader appeared to have broken down when reporters in Beijing questioned him about Kenneth Bae.
Rodman was widely criticized before his trip to the DPRK when he lashed out upon being questioned about Bae, the US Christian missionary currently imprisoned in North Korea for attempts to “overthrow the government”.
The former NBA star apologized and said that he had been drinking before the interview and was in a state of stress because his “dreams of basketball diplomacy [were] quickly falling apart”.
He then caught wind of further scrutiny when he was filmed singing “Happy Birthday” to Kim, who Rodman declared last September as being his “friend for life“, and was accused of pandering to DPRK authorities.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything,” Rodman said when questioned about Bae yesterday. “I’m not the president. I’m not an ambassador…I’m Dennis Rodman, an individual that’s showing the world that we can actually get along and be happy for one day.”
“I’d love to see…” he said before seemingly breaking down in tears.
It’s hard to say if this is the last we’ll hear from him on the matter. The Associated Press has reported that he and his team have been invited back to North Korea “at any given time”.