David Stern says Rodman blinded by North Korean cash

“It’s all about the game. People love to do one thing: Sports,” Rodman said when explaining why he was not addressing the widespread human rights abuses in North Korea.

CNN

“It’s all about the game. People love to do one thing: Sports,” Rodman said when explaining why he was not addressing the widespread human rights abuses in North Korea.

Dennis Rodman delivered a rambling, impassioned and occasionally incoherent defense Tuesday of the basketball game he organized for North Korean despot Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

“I don’t give a rat’s a-s what the hell you think! I’m saying to you: Look at these guys! They came here!” said Rodman to CNN, while alongside his teammates ahead of the game scheduled for Wednesday.

RELATED: DENNIS RODMAN VISITS NORTH KOREA FOR DICTATOR’S BIRTHDAY

At other moments the eccentric Hall of Famer became emotional, choking up as he described his new BFF Kim — who only two months ago dramatically ordered the execution of his own uncle.

Dennis Rodman became emotional as he described his relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. 'This is my friend. I love my friend,' Rodman said.

CNN

Dennis Rodman became emotional as he described his relationship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. ‘This is my friend. I love my friend,’ Rodman said.

“Why North Korea? Why? I love my friend. This is my friend,” said Rodman.

RELATED: DENNIS RODMAN STILL PLANNING TO VISIT NORTH KOREA DESPITE POLITICAL UPHEAVAL

Since Rodman’s first visit to North Korea last year, he’s faced intense criticism for appearing to turn a blind eye to the rampant human rights abuses there, as well as the plight of Kenneth Bae — an American being held for vague crimes against the state.

Rodman — who is the highest-profile American to interact with Kim — hinted that he had information about Bae.

Dennis Rodman huddles with North Korean basketball players and fellow former NBA stars at a practice session in Pyongyang. Former NBA players and North Korean ballers will face off Wednesday in an exhibition for Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

Kim Kwang Hyon/AP

Dennis Rodman huddles with North Korean basketball players and fellow former NBA stars at a practice session in Pyongyang. Former NBA players and North Korean ballers will face off Wednesday in an exhibition for Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

RELATED: KIM JONG UN EXCUTES UNCLE JANG SONG THAEK

“Do you understand what Kenneth Bae did?” Rodman barked before moving onto another subject.

Rodman’s teammate for the exhibition, former New York Knick Charles Smith, tried to explain that the exhibition game against North Korean players serves as a valuable cultural exchange, regardless of politics.

RELATED: RODMAN, CYRUS, OBAMA MAKE GQ’S ‘LEAST INFLUENTIAL’ LIST

Dennis Rodman cheers after a fellow U.S. basketball player makes a jump shot during a practice session with North Korean players in Pyongyang.

Kim Kwang Hyon/AP

Dennis Rodman cheers after a fellow U.S. basketball player makes a jump shot during a practice session with North Korean players in Pyongyang.

Former NBA players Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, Vin Baker, Eric (Sleepy) Floyd and guard Doug Christie will participate in the game. Four street ball players also are on the squad.

“We had no idea the type of negative press we’d get from this. We’re doing what we do, we’re playing basketball,” Smith said to CNN’s Chris Cuomo. “We’re all Americans. We’re here to do goodwill. We’re apologetic — we didn’t know it was going to take this negative spin.”

RELATED: DENNIS RODMAN HOLDS TRYOUTS FOR NORTH KOREAN TEAM TO FACE NBA VETS

But Rodman was more indignant, lauding his teammates’ decision to endure the “abuse” that came with the trip to North Korea.

Rodman is welcomed by North Korea's Sports Ministry Vice Minister Son Kwang Ho upon arrival at Pyongyang.

Kim Kwang Hyon/AP

Rodman is welcomed by North Korea’s Sports Ministry Vice Minister Son Kwang Ho upon arrival at Pyongyang.

“You got 10 guys here they have left their damn families to help this country in a sports venture,” said Rodman.

RELATED: DENNIS RODMAN BACK IN NORTH KOREA

“We got to go back to America and take the abuse.”

Rodman has not revealed how much he is being paid for the bizarre basketball game — but he did say the event would one day be cited as an early example of North Korea opening itself to the world.

“We could just open the door a little bit,” he said.

“It’s all about the game. People love to do one thing: Sports.”


Nation / World – NY Daily News

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