Think Dennis Rodman needs some new friends!
The former NBA star will be heading to North Korea next week to represent the U.S. as coach to the elusive country's basketball team, despite the announcement on Friday of the execution of leader, Kim Jong Un's uncle.
Rodman, who considers Kim a close friend, decided to proceed with his long-scheduled trip Monday to train the national team. Rodman will be celebrating Kim's birthday in Pyongyang on Jan. 8 with an organized exhibition game. Declining to reveal names, he has stated that several professional basketball players have agreed to play in the game.
Rodman's announcement came soon after Kim's uncle, Jang Song Thaek's execution was announced from Pyongyang on Friday. The reported number two leader of the country was executed as a reputed traitor.
"The Big Bang in Pyongyang" as the exhibition game is being called, will counter the U.S. team against the North Korean team. During the second half of the game, the two teams will be a mixture of U.S. players teamed up with North Korean players.
"Yes, I'm going to North Korea to train the basketball team," he told The Associated Press by phone. "I'm going to bring American players over there. Yes I am. I'm going to be the most famous person in the world when you see American people holding hands and hoping the doors can be opened. If they can. If they can. If they can. I'm going. I'm going back for his birthday. Special."
— Kurt Dirt (@kurtdirt) December 13, 2013
Why is there all of this guessing about what is going on in North Korea? Has no one thought to ask Dennis Rodman?
— Ryan Geesaman (@gooseprod) December 13, 2013
BREAKING: Dennis Rodman now second in command in North Korea. Uncle Kim-Jim-Sung-too-low unavailable for comment.
— Jeremy Lauderdale (@JSLauderdale) December 13, 2013
His first visit to North Korea was with the Harlem Globetrotters for an HBO series produced by New York-based VICE television in February 2013.
Rory Scott, a spokesman for Rodman's sponsor Paddy Power, said that "taking a pragmatic view, we have spoken to many experts familiar with recent developments in DPRK and it was the general consensus that it is safe for us to travel there. The purpose of this trip is not to get involved with politics but to prove once again that sport has the power to rise above all issues. And this will be a unique sporting occasion."
Image via Youtube