Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has returned from what he described as a “really good” trip to North Korea, though it is unknown if during his fifth visit to the hermit state he met with its leader, Kim Jong-un, who he once called “a friend for life.”
“Everybody’s going to be happy. It was a good day. It was a good trip. A really good trip,” Dennis Rodman said upon his return. Wearing a black T-shirt bearing the PotCoin.com logo – a crypto-currency used by legal marijuana dealers. Rodman appeared at Beijing Capital International Airport on Saturday.
Rodman, 56, did not disclose whether he had met with North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un, who he once called “a friend for life,” only saying: “You’ll find out.”
The retired basketball player said before leaving for Pyongyang last week that his mission was to try to build bridges between the US and the reclusive state.
“That’s the main reason why we’re going,” Rodman said in a video clip posted on his Twitter. “We’re trying to bring everything together. If not, at least we tried,” he said, adding “we’re trying to open doors between both countries.”
Rodman was wearing a different T-shirt that read “Ambassador Rodman” and “I come in peace” when he left for Pyongyang, but the State Department said he was traveling in a private capacity.
Rodman’s previous trips to North Korea in 2013 and 2014 famously included a basketball play that he set up himself. The event appeared in a documentary film called Big Bang in Pyongyang, which also featured the basketball star singing the Happy Birthday song to Kim.
This time, he met with North Korea’s sports minister and presented gifts to be passed on to Kim.
The stunning gift set featured soap, two basketball jerseys, a Where’s Waldo? book for Kim’s daughter, and, last but not least, a copy of Donald Trump’s notorious The Art of the Deal.
Rodman also visited iconic North Korean monuments and coached a women’s basketball team. The former star’s friendly appeal has not gone unnoticed, as the Korean hosts welcomed him back warmly.
“In the past, our respected supreme leader met you several times, and he used his precious time to watch the basketball match with the players you brought here. In the past, he met you, so our people all know you well. And, also, we feel that you are an old friend,” Kim Il-guk, the sports minister, told Rodman during a photo call attended by international media.
Rodman’s visit notably coincided with the release of Otto Warmbier, a US college student imprisoned by North Korea last year who was allowed to return home this week for “humanitarian reasons” after 15 months in detention.
He has been in a coma for more than a year, since shortly after his last public appearance at his trial in March of 2016, the Washington Post reported.