Former basketball star Dennis Rodman spoke about his friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, saying he is ‘probably a madman, but I don’t see it.’
The eccentric former NBA player candidly spoke about his fellow eccentric, Kim, while appearing on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Colbert’s introduction for Rodman, 56, was fitting, calling him a ‘five time NBA champion and possibly all that is standing between us and thermonuclear war with North Korea.’
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and former NBA star Dennis Rodman (in an undated photo released in 2013) have developed a bizarre friendship
Rodman told The Late Show’s Stephen Colbert that he hopes to help open up communications between the United States and North Korea
‘When I went over there, the first thing he said to me was, ”Mr. Rodman, we just want to know, can we trust you?” I said, ”Absolutely.” And that’s how our conversation started,’ Rodman told Colbert.
Rodman said the reins of the regime were passed down to Kim and insisted ‘He’s more like a kid than anything.’
Colbert retorted: ‘He’s a kid, but he’s a kid with nuclear weapons.’
But Rodman did his best to defend his friendship with Kim.
‘I don’t really judge people, you know, by their color. I don’t judge where they come from. I just judge people where, you know, we’re all human beings. You know, throughout the day, we’re all human beings. It’s funny though that I don’t see how people can sit there and say that this person is a ‘madman.’ He probably is, but I didn’t see that. But he probably is,’ Rodman added.
He also said Kim ‘wants to change his culture,’ and that with each visit Kim ‘has changed so much for the people.’
Rodman has visited his friend, Kim, five times since 2013, but was recently blocked by US officials who told him ‘now is not a good time’
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman (C) of the US poses with North Korean basketball players at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on June 15, 2017
Rodman’s comments come as tensions are increasingly strained between the US and North Korea, with fiery rhetoric being shot from both sides.
North Korea at the beginning of December said the US is ‘begging for war.’
But Rodman doesn’t believe North Korea actually wants that.
Rodman says Kim told him a couple of years ago, during one of his five visits to the hermit nation since 2013, that the dictator said he doesn’t want war.
The former NBA star said that he believes he can help open up talks between the United States and North Korea.
‘I want to open the door so we have some communications.’
Several days before the Late Show interview, Rodman told The Guardian about not being able to visit Kim after being thwarted by US officials who said it was ‘not a good time’ for him to go.
But Rodman wants to help ease tensions and open up talks between the countries.
Rodman (left) arrives in Pyongyang, North Korea in 2014. Heading a team of former National Basketball Association players, Rodman was visiting the country for an exhibition game
‘I’ve been trying to tell Donald since day one: ”Come talk to me, man … I’ll tell you what the Marshal wants more than anything … It’s not even that much,” he told the Guardian, but would not expound on what it is Kim wants.
In October Rodman explained to Piers Morgan some of the more normal elements of friendship that he and Kim have shared.
‘For me to go over there and see him as much as I have, I basically hang out with him all the time, we laugh, we sing karaoke, we do a lot of cool things together.
‘We ride horses, we hang out, we go skiing, we hardly ever talk politics and that’s the good thing about that.’
He added: ‘Every time I see him hes always calm, he’s always smiling especially when he’s around family’ he told Morgan.