Dennis Rodman defended his visit to North Korea with a team of fellow former NBA players in a combative exchange Tuesday, saying the trip was a “great idea for the world.”
In an exclusive interview with Chris Cuomo of CNN’s “New Day,” Rodman reacted angrily when pressed on whether the group should have traveled there, given recent events in the secretive country.
The trip takes place weeks after North Korea announced the purge and execution of Kim’s once-powerful uncle.
The other former NBA players are due to play Wednesday in a basketball game on the 31st birthday of Kim Jong Un, the country’s leader.
“I love my friend,” Rodman said in a reference to Kim during an interview carried out from Pyongyang. “This is my friend.”
Cuomo asked Rodman whether he was planning to ask North Korean leaders about Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen who was arrested in November 2012, convicted last spring by North Korea of “hostile acts” intended to topple the government and sentenced to 15 years in a labor camp.
In response, Rodman suggested the Korean-American had done something wrong, but did not specify what.
When celebrity meets brutality
“Do you understand what he did in this country?” Rodman asked Cuomo. “No, no, no, you tell me, you tell me. Why is he held captive here in this country, why? … I would love to speak on this.
“You know, you’ve got 10 guys here, 10 guys here, that have left their families, they’ve left their damn families, to help this country in a sports venture. That’s 10 guys, all these guys here, do anyone understand that?”
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