This is the idea of basketball diplomacy gone all wrong.
Before his second summit with President Donald Trump back in February, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un asked the United States to send over some famous basketball players — besides Dennis Rodman, we guess — to help the two countries relations. ABC News got the story from sources.
Ahead of the second summit in Hanoi, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un requested as part of the agreement between the countries moving forward that the U.S. send “famous basketball players” to normalize relations between the two countries, according to two U.S. officials.
The request was made in writing, officials said, as part of the cultural exchange between the two countries, and at one point the North Koreans insisted that it be included in the joint statement on denuclearization.
Obviously, that never happened. It went about as well as the summit itself. Even if president Trump wanted it to, getting NBA players to go do a basketball diplomacy tour of North Korea would have been dead in the water. Players, for the most part, are not fans of Trump, and beyond that, it would not have played well with their brands.
Dennis Rodman has gone to North Korea to see his “friend” Kim Jong Un, sang “happy birthday” to the dictator, and saw it as a way to try to open the door between the two nations. Kim Jong Un grew up a basketball fan, specifically the Jordan era Bulls, hence the Rodman connection. However, the NBA is not really looking to get in bed with North Korea as a business partner. To put it kindly.