North Koreans – reportedly – cannot access the internet. The country they live in, reportedly, hoards the nation’s goods and betrays the citizens’ work and services in deference to a megalomaniacal leader that, like his father once did, still dresses like Mao Zedong.
Basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, either while being pressed or genuinely enjoying himself, appears to like the country’s new leading light. After sitting courtside to a basketball game next to Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s unrepentant dictator and 1990s basketball obsessive, Rodman was fawning in description of his new friendship. From the Associated Press:
"You have a friend for life," Rodman told Kim before a crowd of thousands at a gymnasium where they sat side by side, chatting as they watched players from North Korea and the U.S. play on mixed teams, Alex Detrick, a spokesman for the New York-based VICE media company, told The Associated Press.
The unlikely encounter makes Rodman the most high-profile American to meet Kim since the young North Korean leader took power in December 2011, and takes place against a backdrop of tension between Washington and Pyongyang. North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test just two weeks ago, making clear the provocative act was a warning to the United States to drop what it considers a "hostile" policy toward the North.
Kim, a diehard basketball fan, told the former Chicago Bulls star he hoped the visit would break the ice between the United States and North Korea, VICE founder Shane Smith said.
Rodman’s longtime agent, Darren Prince, called the North Korean excursion “all about peace and love” in an interview with the AP, but the cynic in us can’t help but take over.
I love Dennis Rodman. He was the unstoppable rebounding force behind the Chicago Bulls’ three NBA championships following Michael Jordan’s first comeback, and I honestly spent part of Wednesday night watching this YouTube video: