New York City — Ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman defended North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a news conference Monday in New York City on his recent trip to North Korea where he met with Mr. Kim for the second time.
He said he was engaged in basketball diplomacy, and that the North Koreans asked him to coach their basketball team in the next summer Olympics, according to an ABC News report.
He also said he made history by becoming the first foreigner to hold Kim Jong-un’s baby daughter, the first mention the outside world has heard of the leader even having a daughter.
“For him to open his heart and his mind, to give me his daughter for the first time in history,” Rodman said, “He’s my friend.”
He also scolded President Obama for not recognizing his friendship with Mr. Kim, saying, “Let’s have a conversation. Why Obama, you afraid to talk to Dennis Rodman? You’re not afraid to talk to Beyonce and Jay Z?…. I’m pretty important now,” said Rodman, while raising his voice and pointing at the cameras.
Rodman told the UK’s Guardian newspaper, in a separate interview Monday, that Mr. Kim’s daughter’s name is Ju-ae and that Kim was a “good dad.”
Rodman claimed he talked bluntly to Kim, saying, “I said this to him, ‘Your grandfather and your father did some bad things, but you are trying to change something”. Image/AP Photo/John Minchillo