Those Hovercrafts

Floating with intention

Dennis Rodman And Kim Jong-un Are Friends And That Is All

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Dennis Rodman Kim Jong un

This week former professional basketball player Dennis Rodman went to North Korea. Why? It’s kind of unclear. He went along with a few of the Harlem Globetrotters and a video crew from Vice magazine for a feature to be shown on HBO later this year. So that’s part of the reason. Also because Kim Jong-un, the baby faced autocrat who has been ruling the country since his father died in late 2011, really loves basketball.

Rodman, known during his ball playing days for his large personality, wild hair and penchant for cross dressing, might seem an incongruous guest for a country with fewer than 30 legally approved hairstyles and which starves it own people. But Kim has been a basketball fan for years, but his awareness of the sport’s popular figures seemed to peak in the mid-90s, while studying as a teenager under an assumed name at a Swiss boarding school. So Dennis Rodman fits in perfectly.

Kim and his brother, in the guise of sons of the chauffeur of the North Korean embassy, wore Nikes and played lots of basketball as students. They weren’t very good, of course. A recent photo of Kim’s doughiness would tell you that much. But they were determined. Kim reportedly used to criticize the players on his team after each game. An excellent writeup at reports:

Kim Jong Un, who was registered at the school under the name “Pak Un”, worshiped basketball players in the NBA, and one friend who visited his apartment recalls that Kim Jong Un had a room filled with basketball memorabilia. “He proudly showed off photographs of himself standing with Toni Kukoc of the Chicago Bulls and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers,” said a 2009 report by the South Korean Chosun Ilbo. “On at least one occasion, a car from the North Korean Embassy drove “Pak Un” (Kim Jong Un) to Paris to watch an NBA exhibition game.”

On the trip, Rodman told Kim “You have a friend for life” and the Boy Leader got the Vice crew good and drunk, but there’s no reason to believe this will have much effect on the country’s nuclear policy or American attempts to open up the hermit kingdom. Dennis Rodman doesn’t seem to know the difference between North and South Korea, and tweeted that he was looking forward to meeting Psy, the pop star behind “Gangnam Style.”

There’s a missed opportunity here for the US. Personally, this seems like a prime opportunity to infiltrate the highest levels of the Kim regime. Rodman’s nickname is “the worm” after all.

(Photo, obviously, via Vice. Additional delightful ones here.)


Written by thosehovercrafts

February 28, 2013 at 3:13 pm

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