Latest 'Diplomat' to North Korea: Dennis Rodman

Former NBA star engaging in 'sports diplomacy'

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 26, 2013 10:49 AM CST

(Newser) – Who needs diplomats when you've got Dennis Rodman? The former NBA great, perhaps best known at this point for his flamboyant appearance and very messy personal life, has a new gig ... as an ambassador to North Korea. Rodman arrived in the communist country today to engage in "sports diplomacy," the AP reports. He and three members of the Harlem Globetrotters will be running a basketball camp for kids, playing some pickup games with locals, and competing against North Korea's top athletes—and all of it will be filmed for an HBO special airing in April.

"Is sending the Harlem Globetrotters and Dennis Rodman to [North Korea] strange? In a word, yes," admits Shane Smith, host of the upcoming series. "But finding common ground on the basketball court is a beautiful thing." And the move might make more sense when you consider that Kim Jong Un was reportedly a huge fan of the Chicago Bulls back in the 1990s, when Rodman helped the team win three championships. But his appearance may take some residents of the impoverished country aback: "He looks like a monster!" said one, who actually recoiled upon seeing a picture of tattoo-emblazoned Rodman.

Dennis Rodman, fifth from right, poses with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters, in red jerseys, and a production crew for the media upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea, Feb. 26, 2013.
Dennis Rodman, fifth from right, poses with three members of the Harlem Globetrotters, in red jerseys, and a production crew for the media upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea, Feb. 26, 2013.   (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
Dennis Rodman, right, is shown upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.
Dennis Rodman, right, is shown upon arrival at Pyongyang Airport, North Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013.   (AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon)
This May 4, 1996 file photo shows Chicago Bulls' player Dennis Rodman pausing from signing his new book Bad As I Wanna Be to strike a pose for photographers, in Chicago.
This May 4, 1996 file photo shows Chicago Bulls' player Dennis Rodman pausing from signing his new book "Bad As I Wanna Be" to strike a pose for photographers, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/ Beth A. Keiser, File)
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