Dennis Rodman is back in North Korea, thanks to a marijuana website

Ball Don't Lie
Dennis Rodman is headed back to North Korea. (AP)
Dennis Rodman is headed back to North Korea. (AP)

America’s unlikeliest ambassador is headed back to the unlikeliest nation thanks to a sponsor that, well, let’s just say that’s the only element of this story that doesn’t seem that weird., which bills itself as a “ultra-secure digital cryptocurrency, network and banking solution for the $100 billion global legal marijuana industry,” is paying the freight for the NBA Hall of Famer to visit the rogue state for the fifth time.

Rodman stopped in Beijing en route to Pyongyang on Tuesday afternoon and told reporters he was “hoping to do something pretty positive.” He wouldn’t divulge whether he’d talked to his old reality television star friend President Donald J. Trump before the trip, but said he thought the president would be “happy at the fact that I’m over here trying to accomplish something that we both need.”

Rodman didn’t elaborate on the specifics of what “we both need.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later announced that North Korea was releasing American citizen Otto Warmbier from a hard-labor camp and returning him to the United States, though one can only assume that move is coincidental to Rodman’s arrival.

That a former NBA star remains one of the only Americans to ever meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un remains bizarre, even if he was one of Un’s favorite basketball players. Rodman’s visits to North Korea started in 2013 and have been largely centered around basketball, including a reported exhibition game held for Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

Rodman continues to say that the sport of basketball will help relations between North Korea and the rest of the world, though it’s sad if he really believes a simple game can repair such a geopolitical mess.

The simple truth is that Rodman became an international star not because of his rebounding, but because of his eccentric behavior. Once the American public didn’t have much use for a retired star who really offered no substance under the hair dye and piercings, he had to resort to other things for attention.

You know, like visiting a nation ruled by a man who once executed his uncle, all while dressed head to toe in garb.

We’ll give him this, though. Each time he visits North Korea we talk about him, wondering how it is that a ’90s-cultural footnote is one of the only Americans free to walk around a country threatening the rest of the world with nukes.

It’s fascinating, which is why we’ll always watch whenever he plays the role of the unlikeliest statesmen. Don’t think for a second Rodman doesn’t know this.

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