American basketball player Dennis Rodman made great strides in the NBA as a member of the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks. His strong defensive game and rebounding skills earned him the moniker “the worm.” Despite Rodman’s retirement from competitive basketball occurring in 2006, destiny would have a different kind of game in store for him. Rodman would go on to enjoy an unprecedented and close relationship with North Korea’s Supreme Leader: Kim Jong-un.
In 2013, Rodman visited the largely closed off nation to host special basketball exhibitions for Kim, who is a major fan. Rodman claims that the then-Obama White House chastised him for making the trip. Rodman would make several more basketball related trips in 2013 and 2017. He received further criticism for allegedly bringing thousands of dollars worth of luxury gifts, merchandise, and memorabilia to Kim as well as victim blaming minister Kenneth Bae for being imprisoned by the North Korean government. Many critics wondered if Rodman’s close proximity to the North Korean leader could be used to further diplomacy between the isolated nation and the United States.
Today, whilst President Trump and Kim Jong-un had convened for their historic meeting, Rodman expressed joy and openly wept during an interview with CNN. Rodman wore a red Make America Great Again hat. He had expressed support for Donald Trump as early as 2015.
Rodman said, “We have really put ourselves on the line to reach out to North Korea and they have been so gracious to me, my family and the United States. So let’s make this happen. If Trump can pull this off, more power to him.”
Several times throughout the conversation, Rodman grew so overcome with emotion that he had to wipe his nose and eyes. He also spoke of how he fell in love with North Korea’s culture and people.
Ultimately, Rodman feels vindicated that the diplomatic meeting occurred. “Everybody came at me and I am still standing,” he said. “And today is a great day for everybody. I’m so happy!”