NBA

Our ambassador of hoops .. and more?

Image: Dennis Rodman and Kim Jung Un
Dennis Rodman is bringing basketball diplomacy to Bulls fan Kim Jong-Un.
Share This Story

Greg Couch

Greg Couch has been a national columnist at AOL Fanhouse and The Sporting News and an award-winning columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times. He was featured twice in "Best American Sports Writing" and was recognized by the US Tennis Writers Association for best column writing and match coverage. He covers tennis on his personal blog. Follow him on Twitter.

MORE>>
 
   
 

The ludicrous, but true, premise of Argo has nothing on this: Dennis Rodman is now in North Korea. Is he really there for basketball diplomacy, setting up a kids clinic with members of the Harlem Globetrotters? Is it really for a production that will appear on HBO in the spring?

nba fashion

LOOKIN' FINE

NBA style has gone through drastic changes, on and off the court.

Or is that just a cover while Rodman puts his real skills toward stopping North Korea’s nuclear program and missile tests?

Hey, stranger things have happ . . . well, no, they haven’t.

But Rodman really is there now, reportedly having arrived in Pyongyang, with three Globetrotters, making his presence felt in a country with a seriously tense relationship with the U.S. He also is meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who’s a Michael Jordan fan.

"I’m not a politician," Rodman wrote on Twitter. "Kim Jung [sic] Un & North Korean people are basketball fans. I love everyone. Period. End of story."

In Argo, a fake movie-making operation was set up to help people who had escaped from the U.S. Embassy takeover in Iran to get out of the country. In this case, Rodman and the Globetrotters were sent by Vice media, a New York TV production company, for the HBO thing.

"Is sending the Harlem Globetrotters and Dennis Rodman to (North Korea) strange?" Vice founder Shane Smith asked the Associated Press. "In a word, `Yes.’ But finding common ground on the basketball court is a beautiful thing."

celebrities at nba games

FAN-TASTIC

Celebrities at playoff games like to see and be seen.

Rodman never found common ground, even in the NBA, even while he was winning titles and playing with Jordan. And I would like to sit here with a bunch of punch lines over the idea that Rodman will be teaching his style to those unsuspecting North Korean kids, but there’s one problem with that:

When I was showing the game to my kid, now a middle schooler, I pulled out video of Rodman and taught him to play like the Worm. His totals the last three games: 16 minutes a game, two points, 22 boards, two cuts around the eye, one kick from an opponent to the calf, one elbow back to that kid’s chest while officials weren’t looking, one elbow from an opponent to his shoulder, one knee back to his . . . well.

And one coach saying, "I love watching him play. He’s a beast under that basket."

I’m not proud of this.

That’s a lie. Yes, I am.

For all of Rodman’s antics and general goofiness, he is still one of the best defenders/rebounders in NBA history. Without a jump shot, he made $10 million a year, got into the Hall of Fame and married Carmen Electra.

Teaching your kid to be like Rodman is not teaching him to wear a wedding dress or cover himself in piercings and tattoos. It’s not teaching him to throw cheap shots. It’s teaching him that every coach wants a tall, athletic kid who fights for every rebound and every defensive stop.

bracket

SUPERPOWERS

Who's the best power forward in NBA history? Here's our top 10.

It’s about taking pride in doing all the dirty work and, yes, getting a little dirty at times doing it.

Anyway, there is no chance that any of those North Koreans kids will see Rodman that way. He won’t be like that around them, and will only be for show.

The AP said it showed a picture of Rodman, piercings dangling from his lip and tattoos on his chest, to a North Korean, who said, "He looks like a monster!"

It’s actually too bad that the Globetrotters are going to be overlooked on this. They have brought basketball diplomacy around the world for decades, and don’t get credit for laying groundwork for the first Dream Team or Jordan. The Globetrotters say they’ve visited 122 countries in 87 years.

Well, that story has been around for years. Dennis Rodman on a diplomatic mission in North Korea? At the very least, I expect to see some North Korean teens copy his personal style just to drive their parents nuts.

Meanwhile, reports are that the White House made two secret visits to North Korea last year for diplomatic trips that failed.

Now, time to send in the heavy hitter.

More Stories From Greg Couch

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by


NBA Videos

Trail Blazers battle back, overcome Rockets in OT Posted: Apr 21, 2014
Jim Jackson breaks down Portland's thrilling victory over Houston in Game 1.

Stotts praises Lillard after Game 1 win Posted: Apr 21, 2014
Coach Terry Stotts comments on Damian Lillard's performance after the win over H...

McHale on Rockets' missed opportunities Posted: Apr 21, 2014
Coach Kevin McHale talks about the Rockets' disappointing loss to Portland in Ga...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Clippers/browse/featuredproduct/491845/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_491000/ff_491845_xl.jpg&w=100 59.95 adidas Blake Griffin Los Angeles Clippers Revolution 30 Performance Jersey - Red
    adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/498609/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_498000/ff_498609_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas LeBron James Miami Heat Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey-Black
    adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Knicks/browse/featuredproduct/620470/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_620000/ff_620470_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 adidas Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks Revolution 30 Swingman Performance Jersey..
    Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_San_Antonio_Spurs/browse/featuredproduct/692239/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_692000/ff_692239_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Mitchell & Ness San Antonio Spurs Black Solid Script Snapback Adjustable Hat
    Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Los_Angeles_Lakers/browse/featuredproduct/851828/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851828_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers Logo Man T-Shirt - Black
    Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/851842/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_851000/ff_851842_xl.jpg&w=100 23.95 Majestic Kevin Durant Oklahoma City Thunder Logo Man T-Shirt - White
    adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Heat/browse/featuredproduct/890174/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890174_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 adidas Miami Heat 2012 NBA Eastern Conference Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Wh..
    adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room Flex Hat - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_City_Thunder/browse/featuredproduct/890384/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_890000/ff_890384_xl.jpg&w=100 19.99 adidas Oklahoma City Thunder 2012 NBA Western Conference Champions Locker Room F..