North Korea Didn't Pay Us: Ex-NBA Star
Charles Smith: 'I am astute enough' not to take Pyongyang money
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2014 3:17 PM CST
Former NBA basketball star Charles Smith is mobbed by journalists on an escalator upon arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing from North Korea, Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

(Newser) – Paid by North Korea for a little basketball diplomacy? Not at all, says Charles Smith, a retired NBA veteran who joined Dennis Rodman and other former players on a trip to Pyongyang. "Absolutely not," Smith told CNN in an exclusive interview. "I think I am astute enough to understand the dynamics, especially collecting monetary dollars from North Korea." Smith said the players were paid by a documentary film crew and an Irish online betting company called Paddy Power.

Dennis Rodman's agent echoed Smith's assessment, the AP reports, but the funding question is somewhat clouded by the fact that Paddy Power backed out of the trip last month after Kim Jong Un had his uncle executed. NBA commissioner David Stern stoked the flames the other day by saying Rodman was "blinded by the payday" in visiting a "very dangerous country," notes Bleacher Report. But Smith said he had no regrets, and got to meet North Korean citizens—including one who had never met a black man before and tried to rub the color off his hand. "Then the next day after we talked for a while, he came up to me and said he was sorry," said Smith.

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Showing 3 of 22 comments
Jan 13, 2014 4:30 PM CST
Right and slick willy did not have sex with that women. I do believe they met a lot of citizens of the female gender supplied by the fat boy as promised by rodman to get them to go in the first place. I hope they wore protection for the womens sake over there.
Jan 13, 2014 2:57 PM CST
Are we absolutely sure they were not paid by "Rice" Paddy Power?
Jan 13, 2014 11:37 AM CST
No wonder America is losing the fight for democracy when even its own citizens have no inkling of freedom versus oppression.