Here’s something you don’t see every day. Former NBA superstar Dennis Rodman hanging out and watching basketball with Kim Jong-un, the leader of isolationist state North Korea.
Talk about surreal — check out the rest of the audience kitted out in standard issue uniforms.
“This event was off the charts”
Gary Vaynerchuk was so impressed with TNW Conference 2016 he paused mid-talk to applaud us.
Rodman is currently in the country on a visit coordinated by Vice Magazine, which flew him and members of the Harlem Globetrotters over to the Asian country.
The duo sat together to watch an exhibition basketball match in Pyongyang. Google President Eric Schmidt was unable to meet with Kim during his recent trip, but it is said that the North Korean leader’s love of basketball — which he discovered while at boarding school in Switzerland — has given Rodman this unprecedented access.
It gets weirder though…
The Telegraph reports that Rodman and three Globetrotters and the Vice crew headed back for a party at Kim’s palace after the game.
“Apparently, he had a blast at the game,” Smith said, after speaking by phone with Ryan Duffy, a Vice Media correspondent who was on the trip. “So he invited them back to his home for a party, and they had a grand old time. Speeches were made — Dennis made a very nice one — and they were met with rounds of applause.”
And weirder still…
A tweet from Vic producer Jason Mojica that claims Kim got the crew drunk:
Um… so Kim Jong Un just got the #VICEonHBO crew wasted… no really, that happened.
— Jason Mojica (@elmodernisto) February 28, 2013
Robin is said to have told Kim — who used translators to communicate with the former Chicago Bulls player during dinner — that he has “a friend for life”. That’s obviously pretty divisive stuff, given that North Korea is under global pressure for the treatment of its people, nuclear weapons etc.
For his part, Rodman has tried to ignore politics, but obviously his visit has stirred plenty of opinion and criticism:
I’m not a politician. Kim Jung Un & North Korean people are basketball fans. I love everyone. Period. End of story. #WORMinNorthKorea
— Dennis Rodman (@dennisrodman) February 26, 2013
All images via Vice