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.'”

Latest Stories

20 hours ago in Sports

The week’s best sports shots

Denver Broncos’ Peyton Manning holds up the trophy after the NFL Super Bowl 50 football game Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Santa Clara, Calif. The Broncos won 24-10. (AP Photo/Matt York)

A look back at some of the best plays and biggest moments in sports this week.

20 hours ago in Sports

The weekend sports schedule

kobebryantallstar

Here's a look at this weekend's sports schedule.

21 hours ago in Entertainment

Bill Murray tosses fans’ phones off rooftop

billmurray

The "Ghostbusters" star was unwinding at rooftop restaurant in California on Thursday when he spotted two starstruck fans trying to snap his photo.

21 hours ago in National

Making headlines this week

A couple is seen through an American flag as they walk to a polling place for the New Hampshire primary, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Nashua, N.H. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

A look back at some of the week's biggest headlines and the stories you may have missed.

22 hours ago in Entertainment

OPENING WEEKEND: ‘Deadpool,’ ‘Zoolander 2’ to battle at the box office

15-overlay-6

Here's a look at some of the films set to open this weekend.