News

Dennis Rodman to train Korean basketball team

Dennis Rodman to train Korean basketball team

Former NBA basketball player Dennis Rodman speaks to the media during a news conference in New York, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. Rodman is going back to North Korea, and he says he will bring a team of former NBA players with him. Days after returning from his second trip to visit North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Rodman announced plans to stage two exhibition games there in January. Photo: Associated Press/John Minchillo

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former NBA player Dennis Rodman will train a North Korean basketball team that will play a pair of exhibitions against a U.S. team in the isolated country in January, Rodman said on Monday following his second visit to North Korea this year.

Rodman also told a news conference North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “wants to change” and said he would conduct the first-ever television interview with Kim, a man Rodman has called a friend.

Rodman met with Kim in North Korea during his five-day trip that ended on Saturday. It followed a four-day visit in February, shortly after North Korea conducted its third nuclear test in defiance of U.N. resolutions.

Rodman said he was going back to North Korea for a week in December to assemble a North Korean team and train it for two games against an American team on January 8, Kim’s birthday, and January 10. He did not identify the teams.

Kim’s date of birth remains publicly unconfirmed and he is believed to be 30.

Succeeding his father and grandfather as leader of the secretive and impoverished Asian country, Kim has presided over two long-range rocket launches and a nuclear test in February, which drew condemnation from around the world.

At that time North Korea said the test had “greater explosive force” than those it conducted in 2006 and 2009.

The goal of the games was “to open doors,” said Rodman, an expert rebounder and defensive player who won NBA championships with the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls and was known for his flamboyant hair styles, cross-dressing and relationship with Madonna.

“This country is not bad because the marshal (Kim), now, he wants to change,” Rodman, 52, said of Kim. “If you meet the marshal over there, he’s a very good guy.”

According to Rodman, Kim told him: “I want you to go over to America and say, ‘Guess what?’ We want people to come over here because we’re not a bad country.'”

Recent Headlines

1 hour ago in National

Takata recall could more than double in size

Fresh
takata16125303396828

Tens of millions of air bag inflators could be added to what is already the biggest auto recall in American history.

2 hours ago in Sports

Deflategate: Brady gets more time

Fresh
tombrady276076991807

Lawyers for the New England Patriots quarterback have been given another two weeks to appeal his "Deflategate" suspension.

2 hours ago in Sports

Kentucky Bourbon Trail offers a lesson for reviving racing’s fans

derby16124571363511

Some of the best-known farms in Kentucky's scenic horse country are borrowing from another of the state's contributions to the good life — bourbon whiskey distilleries — in an effort to win new recruits to an aging and shrinking fan base.

2 hours ago in National

School safety: Drops in bullying, violent crime on campus

schoolsafety16124794280762

The latest government snapshot of school crime paints a picture of safer schools, with declines in violent crime, bullying and harassment because of sexual orientation.

3 hours ago in National, World

U.S. gathers allies on next steps in Islamic State fight

isisREUTERS

The United States gathered defense ministers from 11 other countries for talks on Wednesday about ways to strengthen the campaign against Islamic State, a day after a U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in Iraq during an attack by the militant group.