I genuinely believe there can be “basketball diplomacy.” I think the average person in North Korea is not really different than us — they care about their families, they try to be good to their neighbors, they worry about the future — and sometimes something simple like bonding over a sport together can help bring out those commonalities. It’s a small step, but it’s a step.
I also don’t think that’s what Dennis Rodman is accomplishing anymore. I’m not sure what he’s accomplishing. Or thinking.
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Thursday, the country’s state-run media reported….
The former player and a documentary crew were scheduled to spend four days helping to train a team of North Korean basketball players for a January exhibition in Pyongyang.
That January 8 exhibition — said to be against a yet-unannounced team of former NBA players — will celebrate the birthday of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, whom Rodman has called a friend and a “very good guy” despite international condemnation of the country’s human rights records.
Rodman has said he has players willing to commit for that exhibition game, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Kim Jong Un is reportedly a big NBA fan and in particular a big Jordan era Bulls fan. Hence his affection for Dennis Rodman. And that affection is mutual. Good for them.
It’s not basketball diplomacy. It’s not any kind of diplomacy.